Tuesday, August 17, 2010

OCLC, SkyRiver, and the slow arm of the law

I suppose one could be gratified to learn that there are institutions that move at least as slowly as libraries, but I'm not happy about the delayed gratification that entails, nor the fact that it means that will we have to try to move forward as a community without having answers for quite a while.

The recent documents that have been filed with the court in the SkyRiver/OCLC case have the following actions and dates in them:

First, OCLC will request that the suit be moved from Northern California to the Southern District of Ohio. Just to cover that motion will take us through October, 2010.

If that does not derail the current calendar (and I presume it could cause this date to be moved back), then the Case Management Conference will be on January 14, 2011 in the San Francisco courtroom.

No, I have no idea what a "case management conference" is but it sounds like something preliminary. I would love it if someone with a legal background could offer some occasional commentary on what some of these steps mean. Right now I presume that all of this is par for the course for lawsuits of this nature, but never having observed such a case before, I really have no idea. Anyone know some law librarians who can chime in?

1 comment:

Peter Hirtle said...

Karen, I am not a law librarian, but let me take a shot at answering your question.

As I understand it, in general a case management conference is a meeting between both parties and the judge that lays out the issues in the suit and sets a schedule for the various steps leading up to a trial. The meeting establishes those elements that are not in dispute and, with luck, settles some that are.

The rules governing case management conferences in the Northern District of California (where this suit is filed) are found in Section 16 of the Civil Local Rules. According to the rules, the conference "will identify the principal issues in the case, establish deadlines for joining parties and amending pleadings, identify and set the date for filing any motions that should be considered early in the pretrial period, establish a disclosure and discovery plan, set appropriate limits on discovery and refer the case to ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)unless such a referral would be inappropriate." Prior to the case management conference, the parties have to submit a joint statement that lays out the major issues in the case. Its contents are specified in the Joint Case Mgmt Statment & Order.