As we noted in a previous post, the parties in that case consented to a Magistrate Judge assuming jurisdiction over their claims. That option is presented in every civil case, and is a topic that is always addressed in the initial pretrial conference. But how often do parties consent to use a Magistrate?
We looked back at the 249 “Core Civil” cases from 2017 to determine how often the procedure was utilized. The cases are relatively easy to identify because the Court’s technique of providing case numbers includes the initials of both the presiding Article III Judge and the Magistrate Judge. Where only a single set of initials is used, a consent was filed.
We identified only 15 cases, or approximately 6% of all cases, in which both parties consented to the appointment of the Magistrate Judge. The parties may consent for any number of reasons, and there are far too few cases and too little information to make any definitive determinations about what led the parties to consent. Within that small population, cases were transferred away from all of the Article III Judges other than Senior Judge Doumar, and Magistrate Judge Miller took over case management in 9 of the 15 cases.
The case numbers where consent was granted were: