Ballard v. Hatley et al
ORDER: Defendants' 92 Motion to Excuse Attendance of Individual Defendants is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART as specified herein. Signed by Magistrate Judge W. Carleton Metcalf on 1/7/2021. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.) (maf)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
FNU HATLEY, FNU THOMPSON,
FNU BENNETT, FNU HERRING,
FNU ROGERS, FNU AARON, FNU DOE,
FNU PARKS, FNU SIMMONS,
EYHO A. PARKS, AMBA E. TOTOU,
CHARLENE G. BARRETT,
This matter is before the undersigned on Defendants’ Motion to Excuse
Attendance of Individual Defendants (the “Motion,” Doc. 92).
A telephonic settlement conference is set for January 14, 2021 beginning
at 9:30 a.m. The Court’s Order of December 30, 2020 provided instructions
regarding the parties’ participation in that conference. Doc. 91.
By their Motion, Defendants David A. Aaron, Jerline Bennett, John A.
Herring, William J. Rogers, Jr., Brett A. Simmons, Aree Thompson, Amba
Totou, Christina Oluwafuluke Abisogun, Winnie Kairuki, and Echo A. Parks
Case 3:17-cv-00393-MR Document 93 Filed 01/07/21 Page 1 of 3
(collectively, “Moving Defendants”),1 request that they be excused from
personally attending the January 14, 2021 mediation.
Doc. 92 at 1.
Additionally, Moving Defendants request that “a representative of the
insurance carrier for any party” also be excused. Id. Moving Defendants
contend that this request is justified because the North Carolina Department
of Public Safety (“NCDPS”), as Moving Defendants’ employer, is responsible
for the first $150,000.00 of liability and because a representative of NCDPS
“will attend the scheduled settlement conference and will have the ability to
negotiate and enter into any binding settlement agreement on behalf of
Defendants.” Id. at 2.
In view of Moving Defendants’ representation that NCDPS is responsible
for the first $150,000.00 of Defendants’ liability, the undersigned will excuse a
representative from any involved insurance carrier (i.e., a representative other
than the NCDPS representative) from participating in the conference.
With respect to Moving Defendants’ participation, while defense counsel
and the NCDPS representative may have authority to negotiate and enter a
binding settlement on behalf of Moving Defendants, as parties to the case
Moving Defendants themselves have a vested interest in the matter and the
It does not appear that the instant motion is made on behalf of FNU Hatley, FNU
Doe, or Charlene G. Bennett. Nor is it clear whether Jerline Bennett and Charlene
G. Bennett are the same individual.
Case 3:17-cv-00393-MR Document 93 Filed 01/07/21 Page 2 of 3
undersigned otherwise believes Moving Defendants’ personal participation in
the conference would be beneficial. In order to ensure that such participation
is not unduly burdensome, the undersigned has previously advised that
Defendants and their counsel may participate in the settlement conference
from different physical locations if they so choose, as long as they are on one
conference line during the conference. See Doc. 91 at 2.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion to Excuse
Attendance of Individual Defendants (Doc. 92) is GRANTED IN PART AND
DENIED IN PART as follows:
(1) The request that a representative from any involved insurance carrier
(i.e., a representative other than the NCDPS representative) be excused
from participating is GRANTED; and
(2) The request that Defendants David A. Aaron, Jerline Bennett, John A.
Herring, William J. Rogers, Jr., Brett A. Simmons, Aree Thompson,
Amba Totou, Christina Oluwafuluke Abisogun, Winnie Kairuki, and
Echo A. Parks be excused from personally participating in the January
14, 2021 settlement conference is DENIED.
Signed: January 7, 2021
Case 3:17-cv-00393-MR Document 93 Filed 01/07/21 Page 3 of 3
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