chapter 11 - mandatory settlement conference

11.1 Authority for Rules

The rules contained in this chapter are adopted in implementatin of rule 222, California Rules of Court. (eff. 6/30/91)

11.2 Time and Purpose of Conference

In every civil proceeding which is at issue, other than one for which the required trial time is estimated in the at-issue memorandum to be one day or less, there shall occur a mandatory settlement conference at a time to be fixed by order of the court. The purpose of the conference is to produce a settlement of the case or to exhault all reasonable prospects of such a settlement. (eff. 6/30/91)

11.3 Presence or Accessibility of Attorneys, Parties and Others

At the mandatory settlement conference, each party appearing in an action must be personally present unless excused by the judge. Where such an excuse has been granted, the plaintiff, in all cases, and the defendant, when defendant's consent is necessary for settlement, must be immediately accessible by telephone at all times during the conference. Corporate parties must be represented by a responsible officer - other than counsel for such parties - authorized to make all decisions regarding the case subject only to approval of any governing board having the ultimate power to make such decisions. By way of illustrating the character of the representative of a governmental party, it is expected that the responsible officer, in the case of a city, would be the city manager or mayor and, in the case of a county would be the county administrator or the chairperson of the board of supervisors.

For every party appearing in the action, counsel who will actually try the case must attend the conference. In any tort case wherein a party who might be liable for damages has insurance coverage, the insurance complany shall have present, or immediately accessible by telephone throughout the entire duration of the conference, a representative who shall be authorized to make all decisions regarding the case. (eff. 6/30/91)

11.4 Duties of Counsel Prior to Conference

At least ten days before the conference, counsel for each party will lodge with the clerk and serve upon all other counsel, a detailed settlement conference statement composed in accordance with rule 222, subdivision (d), California Rules of Court. The statement will not form a part of the clerk's file but will be retained by the settlement conference judge following the conference.

In every case, the statement will contain a summary of the facts, the harm claimed by plaintiff to have been pruduced by defendant's conduct and the legal issues involved as well as a proposeal for the settlement of the case.

In actions seeking damages for injury to perons or property, the statement shall contain a detailed summary of all items of claimed damage and a statement that copies of all medical and other bills evidencing such damage have been delivered to opposing counsel.

In actions seeking damages for personal injury, the statement of each party shall have attached to it a copy of that party's most recent medical report and a statement either that copies of all medical reports in the possession of that party have been delivered to all other parties or that, for a specified reason, certain reports will not be so delivered. When damage for earning or profit loss is claimed, the claimant's statement shall show in detail how the amount of the claimed loss is composed and shall include a statement that copies of all wage statements or other earning or profit records available to the claimant have been delivered to opposing counsel. (eff. 6/30/91)

11.5 Duties of Counsel at Conferences

Each attorney attending a mandatory settlement conference has a duty to be thoroughly familiar with the relevant evidence available to the attorney pertaining to all issues and shall be prepared to discuss all aspects of the case. (eff. 6/30/91)

11.6 Vacating Conference

A mandatory settlement conference will not be vacated at the request of counsel unless counsel for each defendant advises the court in writing that counsel's client will neither make nor accept any offer to settle the case at any time prior to trial. (eff. 6/30/91)

11.7 Sanctions

The failure of any person to appear at, prepare for, or participate in good faith in a mandatory settlement conference, in conformity with the requirements of this chapter, unless good cause is shoun for such failure, is an unlawful interference with the proceedings of the court and, in addition to any other sanction available, for such failure the court may order the person at fault to pay the opposing party's reasonable expenses and counsel fees, and may order an appropriate change in the calendar status of the action. (eff. 6/30/91)