The internet does not lack for content, and you might think it takes a certain conceit to believe you have something original or interesting to add to the overwhelming volume. Of course, a quick review of the average Instagram or Tumbler account would quickly inform you that the bar for new content is set extremely low. We hope to meet that low bar.
This blog, hosted by Vandeventer Black, and compiled and edited by Dustin Paul seeks to fill a narrow niche. The blog focuses on the civil docket of the Norfolk and Newport News Divisions of the Eastern District of Virginia, but will occasionally stray into other interesting litigation-related content. Expect to see summaries of interesting civil cases filed with the Divisions, analysis of opinions issued by our judges, and news about changes in the courthouse or to the relevant rules. We also anticipate the occasional story about cases or articles in other jurisdictions that are just too interesting to ignore, and should be of interest more generally.
We also anticipate efforts to elucidate some of the statistical realities of the infamous “Rocket Docket.” All local practitioners know we typically have the fastest docket in the country. The March 21, 2019, case management statistics from the U.S. Courts website show the District resolves cases from filing to disposition in 5.6 months, and from filing to trial in only 12.4 months. The filing to trial time is the fastest in the country. And the same statistics show that there were nearing 5,000 cases filed in the District in the last 12 months. But we want to look at processing of cases, especially civil cases, at a more granular level. How many cases are being resolved on summary judgment? How long does it take for judges in the Newport News and Norfolk Divisions to decide those motions? How many civil cases are being appealed? How often are the cases being resolved by voluntary dismissal before a responsive pleading is ever filed? As the months go by, we hope to answer those and similar questions on this blog. And we hope to do it with some insight, and a modicum of humor and wit. Given all that, we anticipate the readership of this blog may be approximately two: as editor, I will be one. And to the other, I say, “Hi dad!”
So as we begin, let me give a thank you to Howard Bashman, whose blog How Appealing is an inspiration for this effort and is part of my daily reading. And, if you happen to read this blog, please let me know if you enjoy the efforts at firstname.lastname@example.org. But not you Dad—I’ll call you on Monday as I always do.