Brown v. Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC
ORDER FOR SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE. The Court hereby ORDERS that this matter is set for a Settlement Conference on Thursday, May 04, 2017, at 9:30 AM, in Courtroom 1, at the United States District Courthouse, 801 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA. Signed by Magistrate Judge R. Stan Baker on 3/28/2017. (ca)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
CIVIL ACTION NO.: 2:14-cv-52
BI-LO HOLDINGS, LLC; and WINN-DIXIE
ORDER FOR SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
The Court hereby ORDERS that this matter is set for a Settlement Conference on
Thursday, May 04, 2017, at 9:30 AM, in Courtroom 1, at the United States District Courthouse,
801 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, Georgia. The 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.
The 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 acceptable.
One of the primary purposes of a settlement conference is to have the final decisionmaking 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.
Settlement 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.
Each 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.
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
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
The 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
At the mediation, the parties, through counsel, should be prepared to give a brief
presentation outlining the factual and legal highlights of the case.
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
It is 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
Failure 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
SO ORDERED, this 28th day of March, 2017.
R. STAN BAKER
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
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
1. The Court will use a mediation format, and private caucusing with each side; the
judge may address your client directly.
2. The judge will not meet with parties separate from counsel.
What remedies are available resulting from this litigation including a trial? From
a settlement? Are there any remedies or structure of remedies available through
settlement that are not available through trial?
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 argument?
Is each 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?
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? Is it 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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