Karmin v. United States of America et al
ORDER setting Mediation for Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. by teleconference. Confidential Mediation statements due October 16, 2020. The Court grants the parties' request to stay discovery re 13 REPORT of Rule 26(f) Planning Meeting and stays all remaining case deadlines pending mediation. Signed by Magistrate Judge Brian K. Epps on 10/13/2020. (jlh)
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; ROBERT )
WILKIE, Secretary of U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs; and MARK ESPER,
Secretary of U.S. Department of Defense,
responsible for Defense Finance &
ORDER SETTING MEDIATION
By request of the parties, the Court hereby schedules a mediation before the
undersigned on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, at 9:00 a.m., by video teleconference. Video
appearance by the parties is required to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the
mediation by reducing the time for communication of offers and expanding the ability to
explore options for settlement. A party representative with full settlement authority shall
appear by video conference. If any party is insured for the claims at issue, a representative of
the insurer with full settlement authority shall also appear in person.
Mediation 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 mediation, the parties are to negotiate and make a good faith
effort to settle the case without involvement of the Court. Specific proposals and counter
Case 1:20-cv-00065-JRH-BKE Document 14 Filed 10/13/20 Page 2 of 5
proposals shall be made.
Each party shall submit, in confidence, a concise statement of the evidence the party
expects to produce at trial to the undersigned via email to Courtnay_Capps@gas.uscourts.gov
by 5:00 p.m., on October 16, 2020. The statements should include analysis of the strengths
and weaknesses of the case and outline the settlement negotiations to date. The statements
should also include the name of each individual attending the mediation and in what capacity
that person is attending. The statement is not to exceed ten typed pages, double-spaced.
The mediation 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. 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 judicial proceedings. However, the undersigned will share the results of
mediation with the presiding District Judge, including in the event of an unsuccessful
mediation the last offers of the parties, the resulting gap mediation could not bridge, and the
undersigned’s assessment of whether additional mediation efforts may be successful.
The parties, through counsel, should be prepared to begin the mediation with a brief
presentation outlining the factual and legal highlights of the case. Separate, confidential
caucuses will then be held with each party. Attached is an outline for counsel to review with
the parties prior to the mediation to make the best use of the limited time allotted.
The Court GRANTS the parties’ request to stay discovery, (doc. no. 13, p. 2), and
STAYS all remaining case deadlines pending mediation and will reset deadlines if necessary
after the conclusion of the mediation process. The Court DIRECTS the CLERK to terminate
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the motion associated with the 26(f) Report, (Id.).
SO ORDERED this 13th day of October, 2020, at Augusta, Georgia.
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SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE PREPARATION
Experience 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 not apply, to aid in the effectiveness of your
Parties with ultimate settlement authority must be personally present. If this is
not possible, you must notify the judge in advance and discuss the alternatives.
The Court will use a mediation format, and private caucusing with each side;
the judge may address your client directly. The judge will not meet with parties
separate from counsel.
What remedies are available resulting from this litigation? From a settlement?
Is there any ancillary litigation pending or planned which affects case value?
What about liens?
Do you have enough information to value the case? If not, how are you going
to get more information before the conference?
Do attorney's fees or other expenses affect settlement? Have you communicated
this to the other side?
What issues (in and outside of this lawsuit) need to be resolved? What are the
strengths and weaknesses of each issue? What is your most persuasive
Is Defendant and/or its carrier solvent?
Are there outstanding liens? Have you verified amounts and whether they are
negotiable? Do we need to include a representative of the lien holder? If so,
contact the judge and a notice of the settlement conference will be sent.
Is there valid insurance coverage? In what amount? If coverage is at issue,
or the amount/type affects settlement value, have you notified the other side?
Do we need to include the representative from more than one company/carrier?
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Discuss settlement with the opposing parties before the mediation to make it
proceed more efficiently. At least one offer and response is required.
What value do you want to start with? Why? Have you discussed this with your
What value do you want to end with? Why? Have you discussed this with your
client? It is significantly different from values you have placed on this case at
other times? Does your client understand why?
Is there confidential information which affects case value?
can't/won't/shouldn't it be disclosed? How can the other side be persuaded to
change value if it doesn't have this information?
Where did your last discussion end?
What happens if you don't settle the case at the conference? What is your best
alternative to a negotiated settlement? Why? What might change the outcome
of the settlement conference? Pending motions, discovery, expert's report, etc.
Have you discussed settlement formats with your client? Does the client
understand structured settlements, annuities, Rule 68 offers of judgment?
How soon could checks/closing documents be received?
If settlement is not reached, and further discovery is needed, what is your plan
for continuing settlement discussions? Do you want the Court involved in these
If settlement is not reached, be prepared to discuss it again at the pretrial
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