What Is A Scheduling Order?

A scheduling order is a pretrial order that governs the progress of a case as it proceeds toward a trial. 

A scheduling order provides deadlines for taking depositions, conducting written discovery, identifying and deposing expert witnesses, filing certain types of motions, and other deadlines appropriate to the case.  It may also set a trial date.  Rule 16 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure gives the court a right to impose a scheduling order.

The lawyers for the parties in the case can agree on a scheduling order or the court may impose a scheduling order.  In Tennessee, a scheduling order can be changed if a party shows good cause for doing so.

Scheduling orders help the court (and the lawyers) move a case toward resolution by either settlement or trial.  Our office is a firm believer in scheduling orders, and seek such an order  very early in the case to help prevent our opponents from unreasonably delaying the case.  We ask the judge for a trial date when we ask for a scheduling order, but some judges are reluctant to set a trial date in a case until a substantial part of work has been done on the case.

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