United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
ORDER FOR SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Court hereby ORDERS that this matter is set for a Settlement
Conference on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at 9:30 AM, in
Courtroom 1, at the United States District Courthouse, 801
Gloucester Street, Brunswick, Georgia. To facilitate this
process, the Court hereby STAYS the deadline for filing all
civil motions and the deadline for filing a pre-trial order
UNTIL FURTHER ORDER OF THE COURT. This stay does not affect
any outstanding discovery remaining in the case. Upon
conclusion of the settlement conference set for October 20,
2016, should this case remain pending in this Court, a
Scheduling Order will be entered in the case.
Court issues the following directions to counsel and the
parties that are designed to increase the efficiency and
effectiveness of the Settlement Conference. Counsel shall
provide a copy of this Order and the attached addendum to
their clients at least ten business days prior to the date of
the Settlement Conference.
Court requires that the parties appear personally at the
Settlement Conference. Personal appearance reduces the time
for communication of offers and expanding the ability to
explore options for settlement. If any party is insured for
the claims at issue, a representative of the insurer who has
full settlement authority shall also appear in person. At the
conference, counsel who will actually try the case and each
party, armed with full settlement discretion, shall be
present. No lawyer, no matter how knowledgeable about the
case and skillful in negotiation, is a substitute for a live
client. Having the client available by telephone is not
the primary purposes of a settlement conference is to have
the final decision-making representatives personally
participate in the Settlement Conference and hear the
presentations of the opposite side. Only through such direct
participation can a representative make settlement decisions
which are informed by the Settlement Conference process. No
party is required to settle a case. However, if a party's
representative cannot evaluate and change the party's
position based on developments at the settlement conference,
then the settlement conference is of no practical value.
Thus, attendance by an inadequately authorized principal
defeats the essential purposes of the settlement conference.
If an organization, governmental entity, corporation, or
other collective entity is a party, a duly authorized officer
or managing agent of that party shall be personally present
at the Settlement Conference. This means that each party must
attend the Settlement Conference through a person who is
fully authorized to approve a settlement and has the power to
change the party's settlement posture during the course
of the Conference. If the party representative has a limit,
or “cap” on his or her authority which would
require telephone or other consultation with a corporate
office or a “home office”, this requirement is
not satisfied. To be perfectly plain: each party must bring a
fully authorized client representative to the settlement
conference. See Lockhart v. Patel, 115 F.R.D. 44
(E.D. Ky. 1987), regarding the potential consequences for
failure to comply with this provision.
conferences are often unproductive unless the parties have
exchanged demands and offers before the conference and have
made a serious effort to settle the case on their own. Before
arriving at the Settlement Conference, the parties are to
negotiate and make a good faith effort to settle the case
without the involvement of the Court. Specific proposals and
counter proposals shall be made.
party shall provide to the Undersigned, in confidence,
through the Undersigned's Courtroom Deputy Clerk, a
concise settlement statement of the evidence the party
expects to produce at trial at least three business days
before the conference. The settlement statement shall not be
filed with the clerk, and copies of the settlement statement
shall not be provided to the other parties in the case. The
settlement statement shall not become a part of the file of
the case, but shall be for the exclusive use of the
Magistrate Judge in preparing for and conducting the
settlement. The parties are directed to be candid in their
statements. The settlement statement should include analysis
of the strengths and weaknesses of the parties' case,
include a present settlement proposal, and outline the
settlement negotiations to date. The settlement statement
should not be lengthy, but should contain enough information
to be useful to the Court in analyzing the factual and legal
issues in the case. The statement is not to exceed seven
typed pages, double-spaced. If not already part of the
Court's record, copies of any critical agreements,
business records, photographs or other documents or exhibits
may be attached to the settlement statement.
purpose of the conference is to facilitate settlement of this
case, if that is appropriate. The conference will be
conducted in such a manner as to not prejudice any party in
the event settlement is not reached. To that end, all matters
communicated to the Undersigned in confidence will be kept
confidential and will not be disclosed to any other party, or
to the trial judge. The Undersigned will not serve as the
trial judge in this case. The parties agree, by participating
in the settlement conference, that any statements made or
presented during the conference are confidential and may not
be used as evidence in any subsequent administrative or
mediation, the parties, through counsel, should be prepared
to give a brief presentation outlining the factual and legal
highlights of the case. Separate, confidential caucuses will
then be held with counsel for each party and the parties or a
party's representative(s). Attached is an addendum
entitled “Settlement Conference Preparation” for
counsel to review with the parties prior to the mediation to
make the best use of the limited time allotted.
the Court's experience that parties appear frequently at
settlement conferences fully prepared to argue liability with
passion but without any detailed analysis of damages. This is
not productive to the settlement conference process.
Accordingly, all parties are directed to be prepared to
present in detail, and with reference to supporting documents
if so ordered, a thorough analysis of the potential
categories and amounts of damages which might reasonably be
awarded at trial if plaintiff prevails in whole or in part.
This provision applies to defendants with equal force.
of any party to comply with any of the conditions of this
Order may result in the Settlement Conference being
rescheduled, with the party responsible to bear all
associated costs. If any party believes this case presents an
exceptional circumstance which would justify a variance from
these rules, that party must contact the Magistrate
Judge's office no later than five business days before
the Settlement Conference to request a waiver of the rules.
Waivers are granted only by the Magistrate Judge and only on
a showing of specific facts constituting exceptional
circumstances. No such waiver will be valid unless entered
into the record by the Court.
shows that in negotiations the party who is best prepared
usually obtains the best result. Settlement conferences are
more efficient if all parties and counsel are prepared.
Consider the following points, some of which may ...