73.1 Assignment of Cases to Magistrate Judge

(a) Designated Jurisdiction

The judges of this district designate the magistrate judge to conduct all proceedings in any civil matter upon the consent of the parties.

(b) Methods of Assignment

(1) Reassignment Following Request of Parties

Parties may consent to the reassignment of a case to a magistrate judge by filing a Notice, Consent, and Order of Reference form stating that the parties consent to the reassignment.  This form should not be returned to the clerk of court unless all parties consent to the reassignment.  The clerk shall notify the parties in all cases that they may consent to have the magistrate judge conduct all proceedings in any civil matter.

(2) Initial Assignment by the Clerk

The chief judge may authorize the clerk to randomly assign cases to the magistrate judge for all purposes, including trial, entry of final judgment, and all post-judgment proceedings.

(A) Notification of Initial Assignment

The clerk shall inform the parties of the initial assignment by issuing a notice of assignment and consent form.

(B) Consent

A case initially assigned to the magistrate judge pursuant to this subsection shall be reassigned to a district judge unless all parties consent to the assignment.  A designated party shall file either a consent or declination of consent on a form provided by the clerk in the manner and within the time frame specified in the clerk's notice.  Any party is free to withhold consent without adverse substantive consequences.

(c) Construction With Other Laws

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the right to have certain civil proceedings conducted by a judge, appointed pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution, shall be preserved to the parties inviolate. 


(§§ (b)(2)(A) and (B) amended 1/1/99; § (b)(1) amended 1/1/00; §§ (b)(1) and (2) amended 1/1/05; § (b)(2)(B) amended 12/1/09; §§ (b)(2)(A)-(B) amended 12/1/11)