Special Masters

Florida Special Masters

An assistant to the court appointed to work thorough duties of which the master’s authority extends to all appropriate measures thereof.

Special masters are judge appointed problem solvers. For instance, Margaret Farrell states, “one rationalizing technique employed by federal judges to assist them in managing complex mass toxic tort litigation, the appointment of special masters under rule 53(b) of the federal rules of civil procedure. Moreover, it evaluates the ability of special masters to efficiently and fairly meet the extraordinary managerial challenges presented by such lawsuits and their ability to humanize the process.” [agencies for the courts, 2-fall widener l. Symp. J. 235, (1997)]. This shows that properly charged appointment can show masters demonstrating anyone of a number of hats which get problems solved, resolved, or dissolved: “they serve as surrogate judge, facilitator, mediator, monitor, investigator and claims processor.” (ibid.)

Special masters are versatile experts at various aspects of legal proceedings. For instance, there master’s tackling the following types of cases: electronic discovery, trial, technology, monitoring of civil cases, and class action. Now, no matter what type of litigation involved masters have to be really sharp. Remember, the federal rules of civil procedure at rule 53 deal with all things master: 1) powers and regulations 2) proper behavior, such as it states, “the appointing order must direct the master to proceed with all reasonable diligence and must state.”

Masters are given charge to work on managing and supervising large cases when assistance with discovery. Thus, discovery masters will issue orders and talk on a less judicial role when working in this capacity. Once a judgment has been rendered, compensation based on rule 53 explains, “before or after judgment, the court must fix the master’s compensation on the basis and terms stated in the appointing order.” This holds true no matter where masters are appointed, pretrial, post-trial, acting as a trial master.

Even though masters are not called adjuncts because of the language in rule 53(b), they are not a one trick pony, fixing all the problems through adding value and providing efficiency to the court proceedings, making the process better for everyone. For instance, “Kansas v. Nebraska, 131 s. Ct. 1847 (2011) (appointing special master with authority to fix the time and conditions for the filing of additional pleadings, to direct subsequent proceedings, to summon witnesses, to issue subpoenas, and to take such evidence as may be introduced and such as he may deem necessary).”