Per Administrative Order No. 2023-024 (Attachment A):  By stipulation, parties can agree to a binding, one-day jury trial. Each party has two hours to present its case before a group of four jurors. Three of the four jurors must agree to the verdict. A judge pro tempore presides over the short trial. Jury fees are assessed against the appropriate parties.

Short Trial cannot be mandated; it can be suggested as an option, in the event that parties opt out of mandatory arbitration.

Appropriate Cases: Most civil matters, including cases where parties opt out of arbitration and choose Short Trial as a binding ADR alternative, as well as arbitration appeal cases. Common case types include: tort motor vehicle non-death injuries, contracts, medical malpractice and tort non-motor vehicle claims.

Glossary of Terms

Judge Pro Tempore Presiding

An Attorney who has been appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court and given the authority to act as a Judge Pro Tempore presides over a Short Trial.

Jury

Eight potential jurors are sent to the Courtroom and four jurors are selected to hear the case. The Judge Pro Tempore and the attorneys determine the jury instructions using the RAJI Preliminary and Standard instructions.

Appeals

Unless there is an issue of fraud, there is no right to appeal the verdict.

Pre-Trial Memo

The Pre-Trial Memo should be submitted seven (7) calendar days prior to the Short Trial.

The Pre-Trial Memo should contain a brief statement of the nature of claim and defense, a complete list of witnesses and a description of the substance of the testimony of each witness and finally, a list of exhibits.

Evidence Notebooks

Evidence notebooks can be prepared for the jury. Eight combined notebooks should include facts, photographs, diagrams and other evidence. Four notebooks are for the jury, one for the Judge Pro Tempore, one for the witness, and one for each attorney.

Day of Short Trial

Attorneys and judge pro tempore should meet by 8:30 a.m. to resolve any evidentiary problems or any other disputes between counsel. Eight jurors are escorted to the courtroom between 9:00 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.  A courtroom located in downtown Phoenix will be assigned. The only courtroom staff available for Short Trial is a courtroom assistant.

Presenting the Case

Each party has two hours to present its case. The presentation includes an opening statement (10 minutes) and presentation of evidence, direct examination of witnesses and closing arguments (10 minutes). Stipulations to documentary evidence and pretrial motions are strongly encouraged and live testimony is discouraged. Witnesses can be used by deposition or affidavit.

Each party is allowed five minutes for follow-up question during the Voir Dire process.

Short Trial proceedings are not recorded.

Telephonic Conference

A telephonic conference should be held at least three (3) calendar days prior to the Short Trial to identify potential problems and clarify procedural concerns.

Questions about Civil Short Trials?

Alternative Dispute Resolution Department Leadership

Emelda Dailey

ADR Program Coordinator