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Stewart v. Serna

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 16, 2017

TRACY L. STEWART, Plaintiff,
v.
V. SERNA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER REFERRING CASE TO POST-SCREENING ADR AND STAYING CASE FOR 120 DAYS

          BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Tracy L. Stewart is a state prisoner, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case proceeds on Plaintiff's amended complaint against Defendants Serna, Langhardt, Carey, and Nixon, filed on December 30, 2015. The matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

         Because it takes years to get to trial, the Court has identified this case as an appropriate case for post-screening ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), which is an effort to resolve such cases more expeditiously and less expensively. No claims, defenses, or objections shall be waived by the parties' participation. In appropriate cases, defense counsel from the California State Attorney General's Office has agreed to participate in these early settlements.

         As set forth in the screening order and summarized above, Plaintiff has stated a cognizable civil rights claim. But, stating a cognizable claim does not mean Plaintiff will prevail at trial. Thus, the Court stays this action for a period of 120 days to allow the parties to investigate Plaintiff's claims, meet and confer, and then participate in a settlement conference.

         Therefore, this case will be referred to Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone to conduct a settlement conference at United States Courthouse in Fresno, California on February 8, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. The Court will issue the necessary transportation order in due course.

         In issuing this order, there is a presumption that this case will proceed to a settlement conference.[1] However, if after investigating Plaintiff's claims and speaking with Plaintiff, and after conferring with others, defense counsel in good faith finds that a settlement conference would be a waste of resources, defense counsel may move to opt out of this early settlement conference. A written notice to opt out must be filed within thirty (30) days of the date of the issuance of this order.

         The parties shall each submit to Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone a confidential settlement conference statement, as described below, to arrive at least seven days (one week) prior to the conference.

         The Court puts the parties on notice that if Plaintiff has any outstanding criminal restitution obligation, fines and/or penalties, these settlement negotiations shall not be geared towards what the restitution obligation is, but what the value the of the case itself is to each side, irrespective of any outstanding restitution obligation.

         In accordance with the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

         1. This action is STAYED for 120 days to allow the parties an opportunity to settle their dispute before the discovery process begins. Except as provided herein or by subsequent court order, no other pleadings or other documents may be filed in this case during the stay of this action. The parties shall not engage in formal discovery, but may engage in informal discovery to prepare for the settlement conference.

         2. This case is set for a settlement conference before Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on February 8, 2018, at 9:30 a.m., at the United States Courthouse located at 2500 Tulare Street, Fresno, California.

         3. A representative with full and unlimited authority to negotiate and enter into a binding settlement shall attend in person.

         4. Those in attendance must be prepared to discuss the claims, defenses and damages. The failure of any counsel, party or authorized person subject to this order to appear in person may result in the imposition of sanctions. In addition, the conference will not proceed and may be reset to another date.

         5. Defendants shall provide a confidential settlement statement to the following email address: saborders@caed.uscourts.gov. Plaintiff shall mail his confidential settlement statement to U.S. District Court, 2500 Tulare Street, Fresno, California, 93721, “Attention: Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone.” The envelope shall be marked “Confidential Settlement Statement”. Settlement statements shall arrive no later than February 1, 2017. Parties shall also file a Notice of Submission of Confidential Settlement Statement. See Local Rule 270(d). Settlement statements should not be filed with the Clerk of the Court nor served ...


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