The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cathy Ann Bencivengo United States Magistrate Judge
NOTICE AND ORDER FOR EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION CONFERENCE
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that an Early Neutral Evaluation of your case will be held on January 15, 2008, at 2:00 p.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo, United States Courthouse, 940 Front Street, Room 1131, San Diego, California.
The following are mandatory guidelines for the parties preparing for the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference.
The purpose of the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference ("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 parties is responsible for arranging for the appearance of an interpreter at the conference.
2. Personal Appearance of Parties Is 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.*fn1
3. Full Settlement Authority Required
In addition to counsel who will try the case, a party or party representative with full settlement authority 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 damage 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.
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 48 hours prior to the conference. Failure to appear at the ENE conference will be grounds for sanctions.
4. Confidential ENE Statements Required
No later than five court days prior to the ENE, the parties shall submit confidential statements of five pages or less directly to the chambers of Magistrate Judge Bencivengo outlining the nature of the case, the claims, and the defenses. These statements shall not be filed or served on opposing counsel.
5. New Parties Must Be Notified by Plaintiff's Counsel
Plaintiff's counsel shall give notice of the ENE to parties responding to the complaint after ...