The 10-minute status hearing Tuesday was the first since the civil case was moved to federal court from state court. The former "Empire" actor didn't attend the hearing in Chicago.
The city accuses Smollett of staging a racist and anti-gay attack against himself in January. It sued to force Smollett to pay $130,000 in police overtime and other expenses after state prosecutors dropped charges accusing him of filing a false report.
The defense motion to dismiss earlier this month calls the bid to recoup costs a "perverse tactic" since charges were dismissed. They maintain the attack was real.
The next status hearing is Oct. 22.