Richard Bernier, III et al v. Walker et al

Filing 113

ORDER re SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE, signed by Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto on 7/8/2024. Telephonic Pre-Settlement Conference set for 8/22/2024 at 04:00 PM in Courtroom 7 (SKO) before Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto. (Kusamura, W)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 RICHARD BERNIER, III, ET AL., Plaintiffs, v. Case No. 1:18-cv-01131-JLT SKO ORDER re SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE COUNTY OF FRESNO, ET AL. Defendants. _____________________________________/ This case is now set for a Settlement Conference before Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto 15 on August 29, 2024, at 10:30 AM at the U.S. District Court, 2500 Tulare Street, Fresno, 16 California, 93721. 17 18 Consideration of settlement is a serious matter that requires thorough preparation prior to the settlement conference. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 19 1. 20 A settlement conference is more likely to be productive if, before the conference, the Pre-settlement Conference Exchange of Demand and Offer 21 parties exchange written settlement proposals. Accordingly, at least 5 weeks prior to the 22 settlement conference, counsel for each plaintiff shall submit an updated written itemization of 23 damages and settlement demand to each defense counsel with a brief summary of the legal and 24 25 26 27 28 factual basis supporting the demand. No later than 4 weeks prior to the settlement conference, each defense counsel shall submit a written offer to counsel for each plaintiff with a brief summary of the legal and factual basis supporting the offer. 2. Submission and Content of Confidential Settlement Conference Statements 1 The parties are to send Confidential Settlement Conference Statements (Settlement 2 Statement) to the following email address:, to arrive no later than 3 14 days before the conference. Each statement shall be clearly marked “CONFIDENTIAL” with 4 the date and time of the mandatory settlement conference indicated prominently. Each party shall 5 also file a Notice of Submission of Confidential Settlement Conference Statement. (See L.R. 270 6 (d).) 7 If the Settlement Conference is continued for any reason, each party must submit a new 8 Settlement Statement that is complete in itself, without reference to any prior Settlement 9 Statements. 10 Each Settlement Statement shall include the following: 11 a. A brief summary of the core facts, allegations, and defenses, a forthright 12 evaluation of the parties’ likelihood of prevailing on the claims and 13 defenses, and a description of the major issues in dispute. 14 b. A summary of the proceedings to date. 15 c. An estimate of the cost and time to be expended for further discovery, 16 pretrial, and trial. 17 d. The nature of the relief sought. 18 e. An outline of past settlement efforts including information regarding the 19 “Pre-settlement Conference Exchange of Demand and Offer” required 20 above—including the itemization of damages—and a history of past 21 settlement discussions, offers, and demands. 22 f. 23 Conference. 24 3. 25 26 27 A statement of each party’s expectations and goals for the Settlement Zoom Videoconferences Although the parties shall be prepared to attend the settlement conference in person, they may jointly request that the settlement conference be conducted by Zoom videoconference. If the Court determines that a Zoom videoconference would be productive and the request for a Zoom 28 2   1 videoconference is granted, the Court will provide call in information before the settlement 2 conference date. 3 4 4. 5 Unless otherwise permitted in advance by the Court, the attorneys who will try the case and 6 parties with full and complete settlement authority shall personally attend the conference.1 An 7 insured party shall appear by a representative of the insurer who is authorized to negotiate, and who 8 has full authority to negotiate and settle the case. An uninsured corporate party shall appear by a 9 representative authorized to negotiate, and who has full authority to negotiate and settle the case. It 10 is difficult for a party who is not present to appreciate the process and the reasons that may justify 11 a change in one’s perspective toward settlement. Accordingly, having a client with authority 12 available by telephone is not an acceptable alternative, except under the most extenuating 13 circumstances.2 Attendance of Trial Counsel and Parties Required 14 The Court expects both the lawyers and the party representatives to be fully prepared to 15 participate. The Court encourages all parties to keep an open mind in order to reassess their previous 16 positions and to discover creative means for resolving the dispute. 17 18 5. 19 Issues to Be Discussed The parties shall be prepared to discuss the following at the settlement conference: 20 a. 21 settlement conference and understanding of the opposing side’s goals. 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Goals in the litigation and problems they would like to address in the b. The issues (in 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. Their points of agreement and disagreement (factual and legal). 1 Insurance carriers, business organizations, and governmental bodies or agencies whose settlement agreements are subject to approval by legislative bodies, executive committees, boards of directors or the like shall be represented by a person or persons who occupy high executive positions in the party organization and who will be directly involved in the process of approval of any settlement offers or agreements. 2 Out of town or out of state travel and the purchase of an airplane ticket are not extenuating circumstances. 3   1 f. Any financial, emotional, and/or legal impediments to settlement. 2 g. Whether settlement or further litigation better enables the accomplishment 3 of their respective goals. 4 h. Any possibilities for a creative resolution of the dispute. 5 6. 6 The parties are expected to address each other with courtesy and respect, and are 7 encouraged to be frank and open in their discussions. Statements made by any party during the 8 settlement conference are not to be used in discovery and will not be admissible at trial. 9 Statements Inadmissible 7. Pre-Settlement Discussion 10 Prior to the Settlement Conference, Magistrate Judge Oberto will hold a brief, 11 telephonic discussion on August 22, 2024, at 4:00 PM (dial-in number: 1-888-557-8511; 12 passcode: 6208204#). Only attorneys and unrepresented parties are required to participate in the 13 conference. 14 15 IT IS SO ORDERED. 16 Dated: /s/ Sheila K. Oberto July 8, 2024 . UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4  

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