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local civil rule 4

CIVIL RULE 4: CIVIL EARLY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE PROGRAM

The Civil Early Settlement Conference is available for cases with very simple facts that have low dollar amounts in controversy, providing an early resolution option for cases that can be settled in three hours or less with no extensive document review by the neutral.
This program is not available for cases with more complex facts, multiple parties, higher value disputes, cross actions, or requiring extensive discovery or document review before an ADR session.    

 

The Civil Early Settlement Conference Program is available to parties who stipulate, using the ADR Stipulation and Order Form (see attached form CV-5008 ), to have a neutral attorney conduct a settlement conference in their case at the neutral’s office or other agreed place. The program is governed by the following rules:

(Eff. 7/1/19)

A. SELECTION OF NEUTRAL

All parties and counsel must agree upon the neutral, and must obtain the neutral’s signature on the stipulation, indicating the neutral’s agreement to take the case. Plaintiff’s counsel must efile the signed stipulation and order within 10 days of signature of all parties, counsel, and the neutral.

The parties may, but are not required to, select the neutral from the Court’s list of program neutrals available from the Court’s ADR web page. The list of neutrals consists of active or inactive members of the State Bar and retired judicial officers.

If the parties agree to use the program but do not choose a neutral at the time of the original stipulation, plaintiff’s counsel must submit an amended ADR Stipulation and Order form including the neutral’s name and signature within 20 court days of the original stipulation. The Court will not assign a neutral without the neutral’s signature on the stipulation.


When a neutral is selected by all parties and signs the stipulation, the neutral will hold the agreed-upon ADR hearing date on their calendar for 30 days. If the neutral does not receive confirmation from the court of the filing of the stipulation within 30 days of reserving the ADR hearing date, the neutral may vacate the ADR hearing date.


The Court has not screened neutrals for training or experience and makes no warranty regarding their ability.

 

(Eff. 7/1/19)

B. STIPULATION AND CMC

(Eff. 7/1/12)

All parties must complete the ADR Stipulation and Order Form, (attached local form CV-5008) checking the box “Early Settlement Conference, pursuant to Local Civil Rule 4,” must get the signature of the chosen neutral on either the original or amended stipulation, and plaintiff's counsel must efile the ADR Stipulation and Order form in the Clerk’s Office.

(Eff. 7/1/19)

If the form is efiled at least 20 calendar days before the initial Case Management Conference (CMC), the CMC may be vacated. The case will be set for ADR review on a date the Court selects.

(Eff. 07/01/19)

If the ADR Stipulation and Order form is filed after the initial CMC, upon approval of the Court, any pending CMC will be vacated and the case will be set for ADR review on a date the Court selects.

(Eff. 11/24/14)

 

C. LOCATION OF HEARING

(Eff. 7/1/12)

Plaintiff’s counsel must contact the office of the selected neutral to arrange a settlement conference location, date, and time agreeable to all parties. Court facilities are not available for the conferences.

D.NEUTRAL FEES AND CHARGES

(Eff. 7/1/12)

The Court will pay the neutral a flat fee of $150.00 for up to 3 hours of the neutral’s time to be used only for direct services to the parties. Neutrals will be paid from the same fund and in the same manner as judicial arbitrators. No additional charges, such as document review, scheduling time, travel, parking, or space rental, are to be added to the neutral’s flat fee.


(Eff. 7/1/19)

If a case cannot settle within the three hours allotted, the neutral will end the Rule 4 hearing, and counsel and parties will select a different form of ADR and file a new stipulation.

(Eff. 7/1/19)

By requesting a Rule 4 Civil Early Settlement Conference, parties and counsel acknowledge that their early settlement conference hearing time will not exceed three hours.
If a settlement conference is cancelled within five calendar days of the scheduled date of the conference, the neutral may apply ex parte or make a motion to the Court to be permitted to charge the cancelling party at the neutral’s normal hourly rate for the cost of the neutral’s time that was set aside for the cancelled settlement conference.

(Eff. 7/1/19)

 

E. CONFERENCES NOT CONFIDENTIAL

(Eff. 7/1/12)

A settlement conference conducted under the Civil Early Settlement Conference Program is conducted under CRC 3.1380. It is not a mediation, as defined in Evidence Code § 1115. There is no provision for confidentiality of communication, except as provided in Evidence Code § 1152(a).

F. ATTENDANCE AND AUTHORITY

(Eff. 7/1/12)

Parties and counsel must comply with CRC 3.1380, unless the neutral excuses compliance.

G. NOTIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT

(Eff. 7/1/12)

Following settlement of the case, plaintiff’s counsel must promptly notify the Court, as required by CRC 3.1385.

H. GRIEVANCES

(Eff. 7/1/12)

Any grievance regarding a neutral will be handled pursuant to Local Civil Rule 2G.

(Eff. 1/1/08)
 


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