UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
January 24, 2008
EARNEST FOREMAN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
MELROY ASSET MANAGEMENT, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. William McCurine, Jr. U.S. Magistrate Judge United States District Court
NOTICE AND ORDER REGARDING EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that an Early Neutral Evaluation of your case shall be held on February 6, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. in the Chambers of the Honorable William McCurine, Jr., United States Magistrate Judge, 940 Front Street, First Floor, San Diego, California 92101.
Pursuant to Local Rule 16.1(c) of the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, all counsel, all parties, and any other person(s) whose authority is required to negotiate and enter into settlement shall appear in person at the conference, shall be prepared to discuss the claims and defenses, and shall be legally and factually prepared to discuss and resolve the case at the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference. The parties must be prepared to present demands and offers of settlement. Corporate counsel and/or retained outside corporate counsel shall not appear on behalf of a corporation as the party who has the authority to negotiate and enter into a settlement. Counsel for any non-English speaking parties is responsible for arranging for the appearance of an interpreter at the conference. Failure of required counsel and parties to appear in person will be cause for the imposition of sanctions. All conference discussions will be informal, off the record, privileged, and confidential.
Based upon the Court's familiarity with these matters and in the interest of promoting the just, efficient, and economical disposition of this action, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
1. All formal discovery shall be stayed in this case until the completion of the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference scheduled herein.
2. On or before January 30, 2008, Plaintiffs' counsel shall lodge an Early Neutral Evaluation Statement in the chambers of the Honorable William McCurine, Jr. and serve a copy of the statement on counsel for all parties. The Statement shall not exceed two pages and shall include:
a. An itemized list of specific issues on the subject premises which are the basis of the claimed violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act;
b. A statement of the amount and category of damages claimed by Plaintiffs in this action;
c. The amount claimed for attorney's fees and costs; and,
d. Plaintiffs' demand for settlement of the case in its entirety.
3. After service of Plaintiffs' Statement and on or before February 5, 2008, lead counsel responsible for the case and any unrepresented parties, along with property managers of commercial locations, shall meet and confer in person at the subject premises regarding settlement of: 1) the alleged premise violations, and 2) damages, costs, and attorney fee claims. All counsel appearing in the case shall be responsible to make the arrangements for the on-site conference. The meet and confer obligation cannot be satisfied by telephone or the exchange of letters. No later thanFebruary 5, 2008, counsel shall lodge a joint statement in the chambers of the Honorable William McCurine, Jr. certifying that the requiredin-person conferencebetween counsel has taken place, advising the Court of the status of settlement negotiations, setting forth all issues in dispute, including property issues, Plaintiffs' alleged damages, and the claim for attorney's fees and costs, along with a description of any settlement demands and/or offers exchanged.
4. Plaintiffs' counsel shall be prepared to present documentation to the Court, at the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference, to support the amount of attorney's fees and costs claimed for in camera review.
5. Plaintiffs' counsel shall serve a copy of this order on all parties that appear in this case after the date of this order.
6. In the event the case does not settle at the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference, the parties shall also be prepared to discuss the following matters at the conclusion of the conference:
a. Any anticipated objections under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(E) to the initial disclosure provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(A-D);
b. The scheduling of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f) conference;
c. The date of initial disclosure and the date for lodging the discovery plan following the Rule 26(f) conference; and,
d. The scheduling of a Case Management Conference pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b).
The Court will issue an order following the Early Neutral Evaluation Conference addressing these issues and setting dates as appropriate.
7. The Court directs counsel to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(d) which states, "[e]xcept in categories of proceedings exempted from initial disclosure under Rule 26(a)(1)(E), or when authorized under these rules or by order; or agreement of the parties, a party may not seek discovery from any source before the parties have conferred as required by Rule 26(f)." (emphasis added).
Early Neutral Evaluation Conferences shall be rescheduled only upon a showing of good cause and adequate notice to the Court. If counsel wish to reschedule this conference, they shall contact the Court at least seven days prior to the conference. Absent exceptional circumstances, the Court will not reschedule this conference with less than seven days notice. Only in extreme circumstances will the Court reschedule this conference with less than 24 hours notice.
The Court reminds counsel and parties that conferences held beyond 45 days of the filing of an answer are contrary to Rule 16.1(c) of the Civil Local Rules, and are seriously disfavored by the Court.
Counsel are directed to the court's website, www.casd.uscourts.gov, for review of the chambers' rules of the assigned District Judge.
Questions regarding this case may be directed to Judge McCurine's law clerk, at (619) 557-6624.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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