Short Trial Information
The Short Trial Program is available to litigants in cases filed with the Second Judicial District Court. The purpose of this innovative program is to expedite civil jury trials. While many of the same rules that control the traditional litigation process apply to cases in the Short Trial Program, special procedures reduce the cost and delay associated with traditional litigation. Its hallmark feature is the use of time limits that effectively result in a one-day trial. Thus, this program is well suited to cases in which the factual and legal issues are not particularly difficult.
Parties in cases that are subject to the Court Annexed Arbitration Program (i.e., the case has a probable jury award value of $50,000 or less) can agree to enter the Short Trial Program instead of proceeding with arbitration. Cases that proceed through the Court Annexed Arbitration Program or the Court Annexed Mediation Program, but which remain unresolved, will be assigned to the Short Trial Program, unless the parties opt out. Litigants in other cases can voluntarily enter the program, if all parties agree to do so.
As a practical matter, the Short Trial Program helps enable litigants to exercise their right to a jury trial. In many cases, the expense associated with traditional litigation prevents litigants from exercising that right. But procedures in the Short Trial Program significantly reduce that expense. For example, the program permits the presiding judge to exercise direct oversight of the parties' efforts to obtain evidence (i.e., the discovery process), encourages the use of smaller juries, and simplifies the presentation of evidence. In addition, the party who prevails at trial obtains a formal judgment, which is enforceable to the same extent as a judgment obtained following traditional litigation. However, unless the parties agree otherwise, a judgment arising out of the Short Trial Program may not exceed $50,000 per plaintiff.
The presiding judge in a case assigned to the Short Trial Program generally is entitled to recover costs and fees. The judge's costs may not exceed $250, and the judge generally may not charge more than $150 per hour, up to a maximum of $1,500. Although the judge can require each party to deposit up to $750 as an advance toward the judge's fees and costs, the prevailing party is entitled to recover any fees and costs paid to the presiding judge.
Cases assigned to the Short Trial Program are governed by the Nevada Short Trial Rules (often abbreviated "NSTR"). Those rules contain provisions addressing many aspects of the program, including:
- Entry into the program
- Appointment of the presiding judge
- Removal of cases from the program
- Discovery (i.e., the process for obtaining evidence)
- Pretrial procedures
- Deadlines applicable to cases in the program
- Presentation of evidence at trial
- Size and selection of the jury
- Entry and enforceability of judgments
- Recovery of fees, costs, and interest
- Costs and fees for the presiding judge
- Appeal of judgments