The opinion of the court was delivered by: Barbara L. Major United States Magistrate Judge
NEUTRAL EVALUATION CONFERENCE NOTICE AND ORDER SETTING EARLY
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that an Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) of your case will be held on February 28, 2007 at 1:30 p.m. in the chambers of the Honorable Barbara L. Major, United States Magistrate Judge, located at 940 Front Street, Suite 5140, San Diego, California, 92101.
The following are mandatory guidelines for the parties preparing for the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference.
The purpose of the ENE is to permit an informal discussion between the attorneys, parties, and the settlement judge of every aspect of the lawsuit in an effort to achieve an early resolution of the case. All conference discussions will be informal, off the record, privileged, and confidential. Counsel for any non-English speaking party is responsible for arranging for the appearance of an interpreter at the conference.
2. Personal Appearance of Parties Required
All parties, adjusters for insured defendants, and other representatives of a party having full and complete authority to enter into a binding settlement, and the principal attorneys responsible for the litigation, must be present in person and legally and factually prepared to discuss settlement of the case. Counsel appearing without their clients (whether or not counsel has been given settlement authority) will be cause for immediate imposition of sanctions and may also result in the immediate termination of the conference.
Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, persons required to attend the conference pursuant to this Order shall not be excused from personal attendance. Requests for excuse from attendance for extraordinary circumstances shall be made in writing at least seventy-two (72) hours prior to the conference. Failure to appear at the ENE conference will be grounds for sanctions.
3. Full Settlement Authority Required
In addition to counsel who will try the case, a party or party representative with full settlement authority*fn1 must be present for the conference. In the case of a corporate entity, an authorized representative of the corporation who is not retained outside counsel must be present and must have discretionary authority to commit the company to pay an amount up to the amount of the Plaintiff's prayer (excluding punitive damages prayers). The purpose of this requirement is to have representatives present who can settle the case during the course of the conference without consulting a superior. Counsel for a government entity may be excused from this requirement so long as the government attorney who attends the ENE conference (1) has primary responsibility for handling the case, and (2) may negotiate settlement offers which the attorney is willing to recommend to the government official having ultimate settlement authority.
4. Confidential ENE Statements Required
No later than five (5) court days prior to the ENE, the parties shall submit confidential statements no more than five (5) pages in length directly to the chambers of the Honorable Barbara L. Major. These confidential statements shall not be filed or served on opposing counsel. Each party's confidential statement must include the following:
a. A brief description of the case, the claims and/or counterclaims asserted, and the applicable defenses or position regarding the asserted claims;
b. A specific and current demand or offer for settlement addressing all relief or remedies sought. If a specific demand or offer for settlement cannot be made at the time the brief is submitted, then the reasons therefore must be stated along with a statement as to when ...