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A Chess Clock for Trial: 7.5 hours for each side

In a recent unpublished Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion (Raynor v. G4S), the court looked at a trial court who imposed a time limit of 7.5 hours for each side in a civil case. The trial clock worked like a chess clock and would start and begin during their time (excluding some objections, voire dire). One side came within its time limit, while the other did not make it. Both parties subsequently appealed the issue.


The Fourth Circuit upheld the "chess clock" but seemed to frown on the practice. They also cited Civil Rules of Procedure and the FRE 102, 403, 611:


The court ultimately upheld the trial court and found that they were not completely convinced that the reason the party ran out of time was because of the clock, but rather to the "limitations of his own evidence."

Raynor v. G4S Secure Sols. (USA), Inc., No. 18-1773, 2020 WL 917060, at *5 (4th Cir. Feb. 26, 2020)