ARFLP Rule 76. Pretrial Procedures

A.  Resolution Management Conference (RMC); Preparation and Matters to Be Discussed.

1.  Upon written request of any party, the court shall, or upon its own motion the court may, schedule one or more Resolution Management Conferences that shall be held within sixty (60) days of receipt of written request by the court, unless extended for good cause shown.

2.  Within the time set by the court in the particular case, or if no time is set then not less than five (5) judicial days prior to the date of the Resolution Management Conference, each party shall:

a.  personally meet and confer with the opposing party or parties and their counsel to resolve as many issues as possible (if there is a current court order prohibiting contact of the parties or a significant history of domestic violence between the parties, the parties shall not be required to personally meet or contact each other in violation of the court order, but the parties and their counsel shall take all steps reasonable under the circumstances to resolve as many issues as possible);

b.  comply with all applicable disclosure requirements set forth in Rule 49 or 50;

c.  prepare and file a written Resolution Statement setting forth any agreements and a specific and detailed position the party proposes to resolve all disputed issues in the case, without argument in support of the position (the Resolution Statement shall be submitted in a form substantially similar to Form 4 or 5, as applicable; if child support is an issue in the case, the statement shall include a completed Child Support Worksheet prepared in accordance with the Arizona Child Support Guidelines); and

d.  comply with the ADR reporting requirement of Rule 66(E).

3.  At any Resolution Management Conference under this rule, the court may:

a.  enter binding agreements on the record in accordance with Rule 69;

b.  determine the positions of the parties on the disputed issues and explore reasonable solutions to facilitate settlement of the issues;

c.  enter temporary orders in accordance with the stipulations of the parties or, if agreed to by the parties, based upon the discussions, avowals, and arguments presented without an evidentiary hearing on the contested issues;

d.  order evaluations, assessments, appraisals, testing, appointments, or other special procedures needed to properly manage the case and resolve the disputed issues;

e.  schedule an evidentiary hearing, a trial date and any other necessary hearings or conferences;

f.  resolve any discovery and disclosure schedules and disputes and adopt any agreements of the parties regarding discovery and disclosure;

g.  eliminate non-meritorious claims or defenses;

h.  permit the amendment of pleadings;

i.  assist in identifying those issues of fact and law that are still at issue;

j.  refer a matter for settlement conference;

k.  order other ADR processes;

l.  set a date for filing the joint pretrial statement required by paragraph D;

m.  impose time limits on trial proceedings or portions thereof, and issue orders regarding management of documents, exhibits, and testimony; and

n.  make such other orders as the court deems appropriate.

B.  Pretrial Orders. After any conference held pursuant to this rule, an order shall be entered reciting the action taken. This order shall control the subsequent course of the action unless modified by a subsequent order.

C.  Pretrial Statement, Inventory of Property, and Financial Affidavit; Preparation; Final Pretrial Conference.

1.  The parties shall file a pretrial statement not later than twenty (20) days prior to trial, unless another date is set by the court. If not specified by the court, the statement may be joint or separate, except that if there has been domestic violence between unrepresented parties, the parties shall file separate statements. If a joint statement is to be filed, upon initiative of the petitioner or counsel for the petitioner, the parties or counsel, if the parties are represented, shall confer and prepare a written pretrial statement, signed by each party or counsel, to be filed by the petitioner. Each pretrial statement shall contain the following:

a.  the nature of the action;

b.  names and addresses, if not confidential, of the parties;

c.  names and dates of birth of all minor children;

d.  the length of the trial if shorter than that scheduled by the court;

e.  a list of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses intended to be used by each party during the trial, indicating witnesses whose testimony will be received by deposition only (no witness shall be used at the trial other than those listed, except for good cause shown). Each party shall list any objections to a witness and the basis for that objection;

f.  a list of the exhibits that each party intends to use at trial, specifying exhibits that the parties agree are admissible at trial, or if not in agreement, a list of the objections and the specific grounds for each objection that a party will make if the exhibit is offered at trial (specific objections or grounds not listed in the pretrial statement may be deemed waived at the discretion of the trial judge);

g.  stipulations or agreements of the parties;

h.  a statement of uncontested facts;

i.  detailed and concise statements of contested issues of fact and law by each party;

j.  a statement by each party that all pretrial discovery and disclosure has been completed by the trial date and that the parties have exchanged all exhibits and reports of expert witnesses who have been listed as witnesses; and

k.  a statement as to whether the parties have in good faith discussed settlement, and if not, the reasons for not discussing settlement.

l.  a statement by each party on how a verbatim record of the trial will be made.

2.  The parties shall each file with the joint or separate pretrial statement(s) the following:

a.  a comprehensive statement of income and expenses substantially similar to Form 2, Affidavit of Financial Information, or such other form permitted by local rule of the Superior Court in which the matter is pending;

b.  if the case involves legal decision-making, parenting time or child support issues, a fully completed Parent’s Worksheet for Child Support Amount; and

c.  if the case involves an action for dissolution, legal separation or annulment, a detailed itemized inventory of property and debt, listing the community, joint tenancy, and other property and debts held in common by the parties, and the separate property and debts of each party. This inventory shall set forth the date the property was acquired, by what title the parties hold the property, the amount of encumbrance thereon, and each party’s evaluation of the fair market value of the property. The inventory shall also set forth the party’s proposed distribution of property and debts. The inventory shall be in a format substantially similar to Form 12, Inventory of Property and Debts.

3.  No exhibits or witnesses shall be offered or presented during the trial other than those listed and exchanged, except when otherwise permitted by the court in the interest of justice and for good cause shown.

4.  If there has been a failure by either or both counsel, or the parties if not represented by counsel, to meet and prepare the pre-trial statement, the court may impose any of the sanctions or penalties provided by these rules or any statute or authority of the court, and in the absence of good cause shown, the court may continue the trial, enter an interim award for relief to the requesting party based on his or her Financial Affidavit, and award the requesting party his or her attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred in preparing for and attending the pretrial hearing, trial or settlement conference scheduled by the court.

5.  In its discretion, the court may schedule a final pretrial conference prior to trial at which the court shall review the pretrial statement and ascertain whether the parties have complied with the requirements of this rule. The participants at any such conference shall formulate a plan for trial, including a program for facilitating the admission of evidence. The conference shall be attended by at least one of the attorneys who will conduct the trial for each of the parties and by any unrepresented parties. The order following a final pretrial conference shall be modified only in upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances.

6.  The parties may comply with this paragraph by using the form of pretrial statement provided in Form 16.

D.  Sanctions. If a party or attorney fails to obey a scheduling or pretrial order, or any provision of this rule, or if no appearance is made on behalf of a party at a Resolution Management Conference, a pretrial conference, an evidentiary hearing, a trial or other scheduled hearing, or if a party or party’s attorney is substantially unprepared to participate in the conference, or if a party or party’s attorney fails to participate in good faith in a conference, hearing, or trial, or in the preparation of a resolution statement or joint pretrial statement, the court upon motion or its own initiative, shall, except upon a showing of good cause, make such orders with regard to such conduct as are just, including, among others:

1.  an order refusing to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose designated claims or defenses or prohibiting that party from introducing designated matters in evidence;

2.  an order striking out pleadings or parts thereof, or staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed, or dismissing the action or proceeding or any party thereof, or rendering a judgment or temporary order;

3.  in lieu of any of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, an order treating as a contempt of court the failure to obey any orders, except an order to submit to a physical or mental examination.

In lieu of or in addition to any other sanction, the court shall require the party, or the attorney representing the party, or both, to pay the reasonable expenses incurred because of any noncompliance with this rule, including attorneys’ fees or an assessment to the clerk of the court, or both, unless the court finds that the noncompliance was substantially justified, or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust.