UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
May 26, 2011
MANUEL LOPES AND MARIANA LOPES, DBA LOPES DIARY, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
GEORGE VIEIRA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER RE: SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE Date: 7/13/11 Time: 10:30 a.m. Ctrm: 7
Pursuant to the Minutes (Doc. 381) issued following the Status Conference held on May 25, 2011 at the request of the parties (Doc. 379), this case is set for a Mandatory Settlement Conference on July 13, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. in Courtroom No. 7 on the Sixth Floor before the Honorable Sandra M. Snyder (SMS), United States Magistrate Judge, to whom this case is assigned.
Therefore, consideration of settlement is a serious matter that requires thorough preparation prior to the Settlement Conference. Accordingly, the following is HEREBY ORDERED:
1. Pre-Settlement Conference Exchange of Demand and Offer
A Settlement Conference is more likely to be productive if, prior thereto, the parties exchange written settlement proposals. Accordingly, at least fifteen (15) days prior to the Settlement Conference, plaintiffs' counsel shall submit a written itemization of damages and settlement demand to defense counsel, together with a brief summary of the legal and factual basis supporting the demand. No later than ten (10) days prior to the Settlement Conference, defense counsel shall submit a written offer to plaintiffs' counsel with a brief summary of the legal and factual basis supporting the offer.
2. Submission and Content of Mandatory Confidential Settlement Conference Statements The parties are to e-mail Confidential Settlement
Conference Statements to SMSOrders@caed.uscourts.gov, no later than five (5) business days prior to the conference, or by July 6, 2011. The Pro Se Defendants George and Mary Vieira are to mail their Confidential Settlement Conference Statement directly to Judge Snyder as follows: Hon. Sandra M. Snyder
United States Magistrate Judge UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2500 Tulare Street, Suite 1501 Fresno, CA 93721 Additionally, each party represented by counsel shall e-file a Notice of Submission of Confidential Settlement Conference Statement in compliance with Local Rule 270(d).
Confidential Settlement Conference Statements (are typically typed and double spaced and) shall include the following:
a. A brief summary of the core facts, allegations, and defenses.
b. A summary of the proceedings to date.
c. An estimate of the cost and time to be expended for further discovery, pretrial, and trial.
d. The nature of the relief sought.
e. An outline of past settlement efforts, including information regarding the "Pre-Settlement Conference Exchange of Demand and Offer" required above, and a history of past settlement discussions, offers, and demands.
f. A statement of each party's expectations and goals for the Settlement Conference.
3. Attendance of Trial Counsel and Parties Required
The attorneys who will try the case and parties with full and complete settlement authority are required to personally attend. An insured party shall appear by a representative of the insurer who is authorized to negotiate, and who has authority to settle the matter up to the limits of the opposing parties' existing settlement demand. An uninsured corporate party shall appear by a representative authorized to negotiate, and who has authority to settle the matter up to the amount of the opposing parties' existing settlement demand or offer. Having a client with authority available by telephone is not an acceptable alternative, except under the most extenuating circumstances, which does not include out-of-town or out-of-state travel and the purchase of an airplane ticket. The Court generally sets aside at least a couple of hours for each conference. Therefore, it is difficult for a party who is not present to appreciate the process and the reasons that may justify a change in one's perspective toward settlement.
The Court expects all counsel and party representatives to be fully prepared to participate. The Court encourages all parties to keep an open mind in order to reassess their previous positions and to discover creative means for resolving the dispute.
4. Issues to be Discussed
The parties shall be prepared to discuss the following at the Settlement Conference:
a. Goals in the litigation and problems they would like to address in the Settlement Conference and understanding of the opposing side's goals.
b. The issues (inside and outside the lawsuit) that need to be resolved.
c. The strengths and weaknesses of their case.
d. Their understanding of the opposing side's view of the case.
e. The points of agreement and disagreement (factual and legal) between the parties.
f. Any financial, emotional, and/or legal impediments to settlement.
g. Whether settlement or further litigation better enables the accomplishment of their respective goals.
h. Any possibilities for a creative resolution of the dispute.
5. Statements Inadmissible
The parties are expected to address each other with courtesy and respect, and are encouraged to be frank and open in their discussions. Statements made by any party during the settlement conference are not to be used in discovery and will not be admissible at trial.
6. Persons Appearing In Propria Persona
Local Rule 183(a) ~ Rules Governing Appearance ~ states, in part, that:
Any individual representing himself or herself without an attorney is bound by the Federal Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure, these Rules, and all other applicable law. All obligations placed on "counsel" by these Rules apply to individuals appearing in propria persona. Failure to comply therewith may be ground for dismissal, judgment by default, or any other sanction appropriate under these Rules.
Additionally, Local Rule 131(a) ~ Counsel Identification And Signatures ~ requires, in part, that:
. . . if in propria persona, the name, address, and telephone number of the party . . . shall appear in the upper left-hand corner of the first page of each document presented for filing.
Therefore, in compliance with these Rules, the Confidential Settlement Conference Statement of Pro Se Defendants George and Mary Vieira must contain their names, address, as well as a telephone number, in the upper left-hand corner of the first page, and on any and other documents presented for filing with the court.
If there is no settlement authority from either or any party and/or it is the hope of one or more parties that this Court assess strengths and weaknesses of each parties' cases such that this Court will hopefully convince a party to dismiss the lawsuit, THIS IS NOT SETTLEMENT. In such a situation, the parties are ordered to coordinate a telephonic conference call with this Court, through Courtroom Deputy Harriet Herman at (559) 499-5692 prior to the Settlement Conference, to discuss the status of settlement. Failure to do so could result in sanctions against any or all parties if appearances are made and it was known to one or more parties that the case cannot settle.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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