Two weeks ago, we wrote about a new set of referral orders in five Chief Judge Connolly cases. These orders offer the parties the choice to either consent to referral to Magistrate Judge Hall, or have their case referred to a visiting judge.
At this point, all parties have responded, and three out of five sets of parties consented to jurisdiction before Magistrate Judge Hall rather than having the case referred to a visiting judge. Seems like a good result! It will be interesting to see whether the Court continues to use these orders going forward.
I didn't see any obvious patterns among the cases that did or did not consent, although five cases is too small a sample size to draw conclusions in any case. I can imagine that, the greater the number of unrelated parties—plaintiffs or defendants—the less likely it is that a case would consent, since any one party may choose to prevent the case from going to a magistrate judge.
Side note: In one case, the parties seemingly missed the original order, until the Court prompted them with a second order:
ORAL ORDER: Each side shall submit no later than December 28, 2021 a letter explaining why it failed to comply with the Court's December 16, 2021 Oral Order and the parties shall file a response to the December 16, 2021 Oral Order forthwith. Ordered by Judge Colm F. Connolly on 12/27/2021. (kmd) (Entered: 12/27/2021)
The parties quickly consented to referral to Magistrate Judge Hall after the second order.