Even if you are new to the world of automated rules-based calendaring, you have probably encountered the word “trigger” and may be confused about what it means. Triggers are a critical element in calculating the deadlines you must know in pursuing or defending a case. If you review the procedural rules of most courts, you’ll find that virtually all of the deadlines are based on--or triggered by--an event that may happen during the course of a case.
These events typically fall into one of these categories:
(1) The service of a document--e.g., the complaint, counterclaim, or crossclaim
(2) The filing of a document--e.g., complaint, answer, transcript, notice of removal
(3) A court appearance or other rules-prescribed meetings--e.g., hearing, trial, court conference, deposition; (4) Actions taken by the court, jury or the clerk--entry of judgment, order or decision, taxation of costs, jury discharged; or (5) Other action or events imposed by statute--e.g., the running of the statute of limitations, date of foreclosure, etc.
Whether you think about it or not, when you cull through the rules to make a list of the deadlines you need to track for your cases, you encounter these triggering events.
When is the answer or other responsive pleading due? 20 days after the service of the complaint. When must the notice of appeal be served? 30 days after the entry of judgment or order appealed from?
Where the term “trigger” came from is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it was derived from Rule 6(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that refers to “the event that triggers the period” when laying out the federal rule for calculating the date when a deadline occurs. In any event, the term has stuck.
It is generally understood to mean any event specified in procedural rules that triggers or is used as one end--whether the beginning or endpoint--of a period of time that constitutes a case deadline. Thus, you may be required to file an answer within a specified period of time after the complaint is served--the trigger as the beginning point; or to file proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law before the date of trial--the trigger as the endpoint.
When the advent of the PC made it possible for the first time to apply technology to calendaring, developers discovered that by identifying the triggers in the applicable procedural rules in a jurisdiction, they could create a computer program that would automatically generate virtually all of the deadlines attorneys encounter as they pursue or defend a case.
Now rule sets can calculate deadlines, using the triggers and any procedural rules that specify how the calculations are performed. These have been developed for hundreds of courts and administrative agencies in every state in the country. Professionals do the research to develop the rules, and attorneys benefit from their work and a more efficient and certain way to ensure that all deadlines are identified.
DocketCalendar is a calendaring solution for law firms of any size who need rules-based deadlines on their Outlook or Google calendar. We partner with CalendarRules, giving you access to the best rules-based deadlines and rules experts in the business. DocketCalendar allows you to access CalendarRules deadlines and support from the CalendarRules rules experts themselves; all inside the Outlook or Google calendar your firm already uses!