SPR 93.07 - Assignment of Contested Adoption/Termination Trials

A. Methods

     (1)  Trial Assignments:  The moving party shall serve and file a Docket Notice (Adoptions) substantially in the form set forth at the County Clerk’s website, found at the following link:  http://www.co.cowlitz.wa.us/158/Clerk-of-Superior-Court. The parties shall appear on the universal trial assignment docket. The case on the Trial Setting Docket shall only be identified by case number and attorney name/s. Proof of service of the trial setting notice shall be filed with the Clerk by the moving party prior to the time of trial setting.

     (2)  Application of Rule:  Solely for purposes of this rule, "trial" includes trials and settlement conferences.

     (3)  No cause appearing on the assignment docket will be set for trial unless there is a response filed, there is compliance with this rule, and at least one of the parties, or their attorney, either personally appears or contacts the Court on or before the commencement of the docket.

     (4)  Should any party believe the case is not yet ready for trial, they shall file and serve an objection.

     (5)  If one or more parties (or their attorney) to the case fail to appear for trial setting, after being given proper notice of the application by the movant, and without advising the Court, in writing, of non-available trial dates, the trial date shall be assigned. The trial date set will not be reset absent approval by the Court. If no attorney or party appears for the trial assignment, the assignment request will be stricken. An attorney or party may have a trial set without personal appearance provided they furnish a letter to the file indicating their intention not to personally appear and suggesting time preferences, restrictions, estimated length or other relevant information.

     (6) The initial request for trial setting shall be accompanied by a list of the names and addresses of all persons entitled to notice. All parties have the obligation to inform Court Administration promptly of any errors or changes in this list.

     (7) Trial Scheduling Orders (Adoption/Termination):  The Court shall file and send to the parties a Trial Scheduling Order (Adoption/Termination) for the case after Court Administration assigns a trial.  The Trial Scheduling Order shall be substantially in the form approved by the Court, which is found at the following link: www.cowlitzsuperiorcourt.us.  The Trial Scheduling Order may be amended only by leave of the Court upon motion. Motions for continuance, even if agreed, shall only be granted upon showing of good cause.

     (8)  The requirement of this rule can be waived or modified upon a written motion.

B.   Pre-assignment of Cases.

     (1)  By the Court:  The Judges may select those cases deemed appropriate for pre-assignment due to length of trial or complexity of issues.

     (2)  By Motion:  The parties by stipulation may request that a case be pre-assigned or any party may place a motion for pre-assignment upon the appropriate motion calendar.

     (3)  All Matters to be heard by Pre-assigned Judge: After selection of the trial judge in the pre-assigned case, the trial, all motions, conferences and other matters and proceedings, except settlement conferences, should be heard before that Judge, if available.

     (4)  Notice to Court of Calendar and Trial Changes. Cases set for trial cannot be cancelled by the parties without a court order, except instances wherein the case is settled. Thereafter the parties shall file a Notice of Cancellation with the Clerk's Office and provide a copy to Court Administration.

     (5)  If it becomes apparent that the time allocated for a trial will not be adequate to complete the trial, the parties shall promptly notify the Court Administration of that fact and of the time necessary to complete the trial.  Additionally, the parties shall set the matter in the trial setting docket to adjust the time needed for trial.

     (6)  The Court may assess actual costs or other sanctions for a violation of this rule.

C.  Trial Readiness Review.

      In all civil cases set for trial, the parties, or their attorney, shall contact Court Administration between 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. the Thursday afternoon the week prior to the trial. Court Administration will give final instructions, including the specific start date and time of the trial. Failure to call Court Administration as directed may result in the striking of the assigned trial date and/or sanctions as deemed appropriate by the Court.

D.   Call Calendar.

     (1)  The causes appearing on a motion docket will be called. If no one appears in opposition, the Court may grant the relief requested in favor of the moving party.  If no party appears for the motion, the case shall be stricken. 

     (2)  A party, or their attorney, may appear on any Civil or Domestic Relations Motion Docket via an electronic platform approved by the Court, except a party who has been properly served with an Order to Go To Court or other order requiring their personal appearance. The responding party in that circumstance must appear in person unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

[Effective September 1, 2019; amended September 1, 2020; emergency amendment January 1, 2023.]

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