Friday, August 01, 2014

Settlement Conferences

Background

The Sacramento Superior Court began its current Civil Settlement Conference program in 1986 with a commitment from the bench that strong efforts to settle civil cases were essential to good trial calendar management. Space was rented in the building located directly across Ninth Street from the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse. With space secured, the court solicited Sacramento's leading civil attorneys, asking them to sit as pro tem settlement conference judges, pro bono. Over the years, the program has become one of the court's most effective forms of alternative dispute resolution, resulting in the settlement of approximately 50 percent of the cases that complete their conferences. In March of 2001, the Civil Settlement Conference program moved to its current location on the first floor of 800 Ninth Street.

If you are interested in being considered to sit as a Voluntary Civil Settlement Attorney, please complete the Voluntary Civil Settlement Attorney Application and submit the completed application to the Civil Settlement Conference Program, 720 Ninth Street, Department 59 Sacramento, CA 95814. Your application will be reviewed by the judicial committee and you will be notified of the status of your application.

The information below is designed to provide a quick overview of the Settlement Conference process. Parties should review Chapter 2 - Part Seven of the court's Local Rules for a full description of the requirements for conference participants.

Conference Scheduling

Mandatory Settle Conferences are set during the Trial Setting Process. These conferences are scheduled approximately 30 days prior to trial and are set Monday through Thursday, at either 8:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m.

Parties may also agree to a voluntary settlement conference. All rules that apply to Mandatory Settlement Conferences apply to voluntary conferences. Requests for a voluntary conference should be made to the Settlement Conference Clerk at 916-874-8200.

Settlement Conference Statement

Not less than ten days prior to the conference, each party must submit an original and one copy of their Settlement Conference Statement to the Settlement Conference Clerk. Conference statements may be submitted in electronic form by e-mail with the settlement conference statement as a .pdf attachment to the following e-mail address: dept59@saccourt.ca.gov.

This document does not become a part of the permanent record (they will be received, but not filed). Statements assist the voluntary civil settlement attorney and the Supervising Settlement Judge to understand the details of the case prior to the conference.

Attendance

All persons whose consent is required to effect a binding settlement shall be personally present at the settlement conference unless they have been excused from attendance by the Supervising Settlement Judge. A request for excuse must be made no less than seven court days prior to the scheduled conference, and should include the response of all other parties to the request.

Any person who has been excused from attendance must remain immediately available by telephone throughout the conference.

Continuing a Settlement Conference

Motions to continue a settlement conference in conjunction with trial date are heard by the Presiding Judge in Department 47.

Parties may change the date and time of a settlement conference. All parties must select and agree on a date Monday through Thursday, at either 8:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. The conference date must be at least one week prior to the currently scheduled trial date. Once agreed, parties should call the Settlement Conference Clerk at 916-874-8200 to confirm the availability of the selected date and time.