The federal judicial system has come to rely increasingly on magistrate judges to assist with civil pretrial matters. (100) The Judicial Conference recommended the effective use of magistrate judges to combat cost and delay in its Final Report to Congress on the CJRA.
(105) Perhaps the principal targets of this recommendation are state court systems that still do not assign cases to a single judge for pretrial matters. But as written--and, I believe, as intended--it is also directed at what some call the de facto bifurcated bench in some federal court districts where the Article III district judges routinely delegate all scheduling and discovery management to their magistrate judges.
The results from the recent ABA Section of Litigation Survey offer some useful insights into whether lawyers think that using magistrate judges to handle pretrial matters conflicts with this "single judge" principle.
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers,(69) the court held that a magistrate judge can impose postjudgment sanctions, including attorney fees, for pretrial discovery violations under Rule 37.(70) The court reasoned that a magistrate judge had jurisdiction to hear and determine this discovery motion because "discovery issues are by definition pretrial matters ...
The Power to Order Sanctions Extends to Postjudgment Rulings That Relate to Pretrial Matters
Magistrate judges have jurisdiction to enter sanctions orders relating to pretrial matters both before and after judgment is entered.
Rule 42(a) neither assists a Section 1407 transferee judge in pretrial matters
nor terminates litigation.
"Florida may lack sufficient rules of court procedure to effectively guide the judicial management of complex cases within the state courts system and may unnecessarily expend judicial resources in resolving discovery and other pretrial matters
in all types of cases."
The duties of the position include: conducting most preliminary proceedings in criminal cases; trial and disposition of misdemeanor cases; conduct of various pretrial matters
and evidentiary proceedings on delegation from the district judges; and trial and disposition of civil cases upon consent of the litigants.
The duties of the magistrate include, but are not limited to: conducting most preliminary hearings in criminal cases; trying and disposing of most misdemeanor cases; conducting various pretrial matters
and evidentiray hearings upon delegation of district judges; and conducting final hearings for naturalization.