District Court Highlights

Early Assessment Program & Use of Adjusters

Kent Snapp, Administrator of the District’s Early Assessment Program, reminds attorneys that independent adjusters are not to be used as representatives of a party or an insurance company in early assessment meetings.  Please call Kent at 816-512-5080, if you have any questions.

Also, the current List of Potential Neutrals and information about becoming a neutral can be found on the Court’s website at www.mow.uscourts.gov  under Early Assessment Program.  If you are on the List of Potential Neutrals, please be sure your information is current. Contact Debbie Starks with changes at 816-512-5080 or debbie_starks@mow.uscourts.gov.

And finally, the Early Assessment Program staff welcomes questions about its procedures and practices so participants may use the program to the fullest extent.  Readers are welcome to submit questions to debbie_starks@mow.uscourts.gov.  Note that information regarding the Early Assessment Program pertains only to Western Division (Kansas City) and St. Joseph Division cases.

On-line Case Opening Tips

Last quarter the Court launched Online Case Opening for attorneys, and the experiment was a great success. Over 217 cases have been opened by attorneys since the enhancement was implemented on October 13, 2009, and the Court welcomes any feedback from the bar about the new feature.

For those who have not yet tried Online Case Opening, click here for a tutorial. 

Please remember that it is important not to abort the case opening process once begun. Doing so often results in double charges to your credit card.  The process also depends on the Court having current contact information for the attorney filing the case. If you have not had recent cases with WDMO, please confirm or update your information through the Utilities/Maintain Your Account area in District CM/ECF.

Another tip for success is remembering to search for your party before adding a new name to our database.  When it is necessary to add a new party, please capitalize only the leading letter as opposed to the entire word.  

Please contact the Court at 816-512-5000 with any suggestions to improve the new feature or if you encounter problems.

Audio/Visual Equipment in the Courtroom

Do you have a trial or evidentiary hearing in the near future?  If so, do you plan on using your laptop or other audio/visual equipment? The Western District of Missouri wants your presentation to proceed smoothly and without delay or surprise.  To that end, our IT staff is Presentation Cartready at your convenience to demonstrate use of the Evidence Presentation Carts or to work with you to make sure your materials display properly.

To arrange for an appointment, simply contact the Courtroom Deputy monitoring your case.  A member of the Court’s IT staff will work with you and show you how to use the components needed for your presentation, and you may test how your video clips or how your documents display on screens in the courtroom.  Even if you do not have an upcoming trial, you are welcome to make an appointment for a refresher course in the equipment available in the courtrooms.  Jurors and judges are consistent in their appreciation for lawyers who are prepared to use AV equipment without technical difficulties.  The Clerk’s Office urges WDMO attorneys to visit in advance to ensure successful interaction between their equipment or documents and courtroom equipment.


Attorney Admissions Ceremonies

Does a new attorney in your firm need to get sworn in to the District?  Ceremonies are held at the Kansas City, Missouri  courthouse on a monthly basis.  In order to attend a swearing-in ceremony, admission paperwork and the associated fee must be submitted to Jeri Russel, Attorney Admissions, the month prior to the ceremony you wish to attend.  A sponsor, who is an active member of the WDMO, is required to attend the ceremony with the petitioner.  Admission paperwork may be obtained at the WDMO website located at http://www.mow.uscourts.gov/admissions.html .  Please remember to submit a CM/ECF application as well.

Accessing Presentence Investigation Reports in CM/ECF

Please see the Criminal Law Update section for information on accessing presentence investigation reports in CM/ECF.

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