SB 373 - Currently, certain cases tried before associate circuit judges shall be tried upon the return date of the summons or on a date to which the case has been continued. Under this act, every such case shall be tried on a date set by the court after the defendant has been duly served and has appeared. All parties shall receive notice of the setting from the court by electronic filing or a notice mailed to a pro se party.
Additionally, current law requires change of venue and change of judge applications to be filed no later than five days before the return date of the summons. This act modifies the five-day filing requirement to fifteen days prior to a trial setting before the particular judge. If the trial judge changes after the initial trial setting, any application for change of venue or change of judge shall be made no later than fifteen days before the subsequent date set for trial. Under this act, a case may be continued for a period exceeding thirty days if:
(1) By written agreement of all parties and the judge's approval;
(2) All defendants have not been timely served with process; or
(3) It appears to the judge that discovery or other trial preparations would reasonably require more than thirty days.
Any continued matter shall be set to a date certain.
Currently, in any case triable before a jury, a trial by jury shall be deemed waived unless written demand is filed no later than five days before the return date of summons or the date set for trial, whichever is later. This act modifies the five-day requirement to fifteen days.
Further, this act specifies that a record of an act, event, condition, opinion, or diagnosis shall not be excluded by the rule against hearsay in certain civil proceedings, regardless of whether the declarant is available, if:
(1) The record was made at or near the time by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge;
(2) The record was kept in the course of a regularly conducted activity of a business, organization, occupation, or calling;
(3) Making the record was a regular practice of that activity;
(4) The testimony of the custodian or another qualified witness or a certification demonstrates the aforementioned; and
(5) The opponent does not show that the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate a lack of trustworthiness.
Records of regularly conducted activities shall be admissible, subject to other substantive or procedural objects, upon an affidavit of the custodian or another qualified person. Seven days before the trial or hearing, the proponent shall send to an adverse party the affidavit of a custodian who is not expected to appear at the trial along with records of regularly conducted activities. The act specifies the form and content of the affidavit.
This act is identical to SB 281 (2021) and SB 1083 (2020) and is substantially similar to HB 1171 (2019) and HB 1863 (2018).