CIVIL RULE 4: CIVIL EARLY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE PROGRAM
- A. SELECTION OF NEUTRAL
B. STIPULATION AND CMC
C. LOCATION OF HEARING
D. NEUTRAL FEES AND CHARGES
E. CONFERENCES NOT CONFIDENTIAL
F. ATTENDANCE AND AUTHORITY
G. NOTIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT
The Civil Early Settlement Conference Program is available to parties who stipulate, using the ADR Stipulation and Order Form (see attached form CV-5008 ), to have a neutral conduct a settlement conference in their case at the neutral’s office or other agreed place. The program is governed by the following rules:
All parties and counsel must agree upon the neutral, or agree to allow the Court to select the neutral. The parties may, but are not required to, select the neutral from the Court’s list of program neutrals available from the Court’s ADR web page. The list of neutrals consists of active or inactive members of the State Bar and retired judicial officers. If parties want to select their own neutral, the clerk’s office will hold the stipulation or order to Early Settlement Conference for 10 court days from the date of receipt, to allow parties to select their neutral. If the Court does not receive a selection from parties within 10 court days, the court will assign the case to the next available neutral. If the parties allow the Court to select the neutral, the Court will assign a neutral from the Court’s list. The Court has not screened neutrals for training or experience and makes no warranty regarding their ability.
All parties must complete the ADR Stipulation and Order form (attached local form CV-5008 ), checking the box “Early Settlement Conference,” and must file the form in the Clerk’s Office.
If the form is filed at least 15 calendar days before the initial Case Management Conference (CMC), the conference will be vacated. If the case is a limited jurisdiction case, it will be set for a trial setting conference to be held approximately 120 calendar days after the vacated initial CMC. If the case is an unlimited jurisdiction case, it will be set for ADR review on a date the Court selects.
If the ADR Stipulation and Order form is filed after the initial CMC, upon approval of the Court, any pending CMC will be vacated and the case will be set for ADR review on a date the Court selects.
Plaintiff’s counsel must contact the office of the selected neutral to arrange a settlement conference location, date, and time agreeable to all parties. Court facilities are not available for the conferences.
The Court will pay the neutral a flat fee of $150.00 for up to 3 hours of the neutral’s time. Neutrals will be paid from the same fund and in the same manner as judicial arbitrators. No additional charges, such as travel, parking, or space rental, are to be added to the neutral’s flat fee. By requesting a Rule 4 Civil Early Settlement Conference, parties and counsel acknowledge that their early settlement conference hearing time will not exceed three hours. If a settlement conference is cancelled within five calendar days of the scheduled date of the conference, the neutral may apply ex parte or make a motion to the Court to be permitted to charge the cancelling party at the neutral’s normal hourly rate for the cost of the neutral’s time that was set aside for the cancelled settlement conference.
A settlement conference conducted under the Civil Early Settlement Conference Program is conducted under CRC 3.1380. It is not a mediation, as defined in Evidence Code § 1115. There is no provision for confidentiality of communication, except as provided in Evidence Code § 1152(a).
Parties and counsel must comply with CRC 3.1380, unless the neutral excuses compliance.
Following settlement of the case, plaintiff’s counsel must promptly notify the Court, as required by CRC 3.1385.
Any grievance regarding a neutral will be handled pursuant to Local Civil Rule 2G.