Appeals court upholds civil case time limits

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The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday denied a motion to overrule U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab's decision to put time limits on a civil trial. Judge Schwab, like some other judges, limits each side's use of time at civil trials to spare juries from excessively long presentations.

The appeals court, however, stopped well short of endorsing the proposed trial clock.

The decision came in a case in which a committee of creditors is suing 16 former officers and directors of the bankrupt Lemington Home for the Aged. Judge Schwab ruled that the committee would have 30 minutes to make an opening statement, 71/2 hours to present testimony and 30 minutes to close. The group of defendants would have about the same amount of time.

The defendants asked the 3rd Circuit to alter the time clock, arguing that they could not get a fair trial. The appeals judges wrote that judges can put parties on the clock at trial and the parties can appeal after trial if they feel they were unable to present their evidence.



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