I analyzed refinements in the experimentation which the Montana Federal District Court and other districts have conducted under the Civil Justice Reform Act (CJRA) of 1990 and I assessed certain proposed legal reforms which the Republican Party included in its Contract With America in the last issue of the Montana Law Review. I reported that the Montana Federal District Court had prepared a set of local rule changes in light of the 1993 Federal Rules amendments and that the district had formally proposed those modifications for public comment. I also reported that the United States House of Representatives had passed three bills-the Attorney Accountability Act (AAA), the Securities Litigation Reform Act (SLRA), and the Common Sense Product Liability and Legal Reform Act (PLLRA). I explained that none of those proposals would specifically alter the CJRA, even though the measures might have important effects on civil justice reform.
The Montana Federal District Court recently finalized the proposed amendments in the local rules which became effective in September, 1995. Moreover, the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council has appointed a District Local Rules Review Committee (LRRC) which is evaluating the local rules of the circuit's fifteen districts for consistency with, and duplication of, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Acts of Congress. That Committee has correspondingly begun its review of the Montana District's procedures.
The Congress enacted, and has overridden President Bill Clinton's veto of, securities litigation reform legislation. The United States Senate passed a product liability reform bill, although it has not passed the AAA. The Congress has also enacted the Civil Justice Reform Act Amendment Act of 1995 that extends for a year the CJRA's deadlines for the Judicial Conference to tender a report to Congress, and the Federal Judicial Center to finish a study, on the demonstration program. This program requires five districts to experiment with differentiated case management (DCM) and with various expense and delay reduction procedures which the CJRA prescribes. These new developments in civil justice reform warrant assessment. ·This essay undertakes that effort.
Carl Tobias, Continuing Federal Justice Reform in Montana, 57 Mont. L. Rev. 143 (1996)