Oregon Civil Litigation: The Days Before Trial

Joe Di Bartolomeo
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Joe Di Bartolomeo is a top rated personal injury lawyer helping Oregon and Washington families

Most Oregon Courts will set a trial after each party has filed an appearance, and the case is “at issue.”  In the several weeks leading up to trial, there are several things happening behind the scenes.

Perpetuation Depositions

Many expert witnesses, especially doctors, are not able to appear at a courthouse for a trial, and the parties will often agree to have the experts testimony “perpetuated.”  The perpetuation deposition involves all the parties meeting prior to trial, and obtaining testimony by video with a court reporter present prior to trial.  The video is then played to the jury at trial.

This type of testimony is not limited to busy doctors, but to any witness who may have a good reason not be available at trial.
For witnesses who will appear at trial, subpoenas are served, which is an Order from the court commanding a witness to appear at the trial.  In some cases, the subpoena can also be for records, either to be brought by a witness that is testifying at trial, or a records custodian.

Pre-Trial Motions and Submissions

Local Court rules often require that pretrial documents be filed for court review within days prior to the scheduled jury trial. Typical pretrial documents include Motions in Limine, Proposed Jury Instructions, Witness and Exhibit Lists, and Trial Memorandums.  The parties will also submit proposed Jury Verdict Forms.  Sometimes, we can anticipate a matter that may come up at trial, and prepare a brief on the issue for the Court.  These are unofficially known as "pocket briefs."

Behind the Scenes

In our office, we are finalizing our trial preparations.  We will confirm witness appearances and scheduling, meet with the client, often more than a few time, mark and prepare exhibits, and submit all pre-trial documents to the court.
 
There is a lot going on prior to trial.  If you have a personal injury matter and have questions about whether your case may require that you go to trial, give us a call at 503-325-8600.  We can help you understand the process, and make an informed decision.