Case 3:01-cv-01684-WWE Document 68 Filed 09/10/2004 Page 1 of 5
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
Hon. Holly B. Fitzsimmons
915 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
CALENDAR AND SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE ORDER
READ NOW AND COMPLY WITH THIS ORDER CAREFULLY
This case is scheduled for a settlement conference with the Honorable
Holly B. Fitzsimmons, United States Magistrate Judge. Local counsel shall notify
any visiting counsel of the date and time of the conference.
PRESENCE OF PARTIES/PERSONS WITH AUTHORITY
The parties are hereby ORDERED to be present at the conference. If a party
is a legal entity, not an individual, a representative of the party who is fully
authorized to decide all matters pertaining to the case shall be present at the
conference. The Court will not hold a settlement conference without all parties
present. Availability of a party by telephone IS NOT PERMITTED without the
authorization of the Court, which must be sought, in writing, at least two weeks in
advance. In cases where a party requires authority from an insurer to settle the
case, the party shall ensure that an insurance company representative with full
authority to settle the case is present at the conference. For a plaintiff, "full
authority" means final authority to dismiss the case with prejudice, and to accept
in settlement an amount or terms down to the defendant's last offer.
For a defendant, "full authority" means final authority to commit a defendant to
pay, in the representative's own discretion, a settlement amount up to the
plaintiff's prayer or the plaintiff's last demand, whichever is lower.
The purpose of this requirement is to have in attendance a person with
both the authority to exercise discretion and the realistic freedom to exercise
such discretion without negative consequences, in order to settle the case during
the settlement conference without consulting someone else who is not present.
FAILURE OF A PARTY OR PARTY REPRESENTATIVE WITH FULL AUTHORITY TO
Case 3:01-cv-01684-WWE Document 68 Filed 09/10/2004 Page 2 of 5
SETTLE THE CASE TO ATTEND THE CONFERENCE MAY RESULT IN THE
IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS. The parties should be prepared to spend the entire
day in the settlement conference.
Settlement conferences are often unproductive unless the parties have
exchanged demands and offers before the conference and 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 counterproposals shall be
made. If settlement is not achieved before the conference, the parties shall be
prepared to engage in further negotiation at the conference. Not later than 14
days before the conference, plaintiff's counsel shall contact defendant's counsel
to initiate these discussions, if they are not already on-going.
At least five (5) days before the conference, each party shall provide to the
undersigned, in confidence, a concise statement, no longer than 3 pages in
length, of the evidence the party expects to produce at trial. The statements shall
outline the settlement negotiations to date, and identify where possible the
obstacles or impediments which have so far prevented settlement of the matter.
Please prepare the statement so that it ARRIVES in chambers by mail or
messenger on or before the due date.
CONDUCT OF THE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
The purpose of the settlement conference is to facilitate settlement of this
case, if that is appropriate. It will be conducted so that no party will be prejudiced
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, unless the party authorizes disclosure.
At the settlement conference, while all the parties are together, counsel for
each party will give a brief presentation to the judge, outlining the factual and
legal issues presented by the case. Remaining discovery, substantive motions,
and other work necessary to prepare the case for trial in the event a settlement is
not reached will also be discussed. Then separate confidential caucuses will be
held with each party and the party's representative(s). Attached is an outline for
counsel to review with the parties prior to the settlement conference to make the
best use of the time allotted.
All statements made by the parties relating to the substance or merits of
the case, whether written or oral, made for the first time during the settlement
conference, shall be deemed confidential and shall not be admissible in evidence
for any reason in the trial of the case, should the case not settle. This provision
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does not preclude admissibility in other contexts, such as a hearing on a motion
for sanctions regarding the settlement conference.
The requirement that parties personally appear is intended to increase the
efficiency and effectiveness of the settlement conference, by reducing the time
for communication of offers and expanding the ability to explore options for
settlement. Where it is impossible for the person with authority to be personally
present, counsel for that party shall so advise opposing counsel and attempt to
work out an acceptable alternative at least two weeks in advance of the
conference. Any alternative requires the advance permission of the Judge, which
may be obtained by written motion or telephone conference.
NOTICE OF RESOLUTION/NEED FOR CONTINUANCE
If the case is resolved after the issuance of this order and prior to the
conference date, notice must be given to Judge Fitzsimmons' chambers. Because
of the demand for settlement conferences, giving notice as early as possible will
make it likelier that another conference can be rescheduled into the allotted time
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SETTLEM ENT CONFERENCE PREPARATION
Experience show s that in negotiations the party w ho is best prepared usually obtains the best
result. Settlement conferences can be held more efficiently if all parties and counsel are prepared.
The follow ing are some areas to consider in order to aid in the effectiveness of this settlement
a. Parties w ith ultimate settlement authority must be personally present.
2. The court w ill use a mediation format, and private caucusing w ith each
side; the judge may address your client directly.
3. Do you w ant a summary jury trial, arbitration, mini-trial or other
procedure instead of/after this conference? If so, or if you w ant to
know more about these processes, please contact the court so a
conference call to discuss options can be arranged. Have you discussed
these options w ith your client?
1. W hat issues (in and outside of this law suit) need to be resolved? W hat
are the strengths and w eaknesses of each issue? W hat is your most
2. W hat remedies are available resulting from this litigation or otherw ise?
Is there any ancillary litigation pending planned w hich affects case
4. Do you have enough information to value the case? If not, how are you
going to get more information before the conference?
5. Do attorneys fees or other expenses affect settlement? Have you
communicated this to the other side?
1. Are there outstanding liens? Have you verified amounts and w hether
they are negotiable? Do w e need to include a representative of the lien
holder? If so, contact the court immediately.
Is there valid insurance coverage? In w hat amount? If coverage is at
issue, or the amount/type affects settlement value, have you notified the
other side? Do w e need to include the representative from more than
one company/carrier? If so, notify the court immediately.
Case 3:01-cv-01684-WWE Document 68 Filed 09/10/2004 Page 5 of 5
1. W here have your last discussions ended? Are you sure?
2. Can you have any discussions before the settlement conference to make
it proceed more efficiently?
3. W hat value do you w ant to start w ith? W hy? Have you discussed this
w ith your client?
4. W hat value do you w ant to end w ith? W hy? Have you discussed this
w ith your client? Is it significantly different from values you have placed
on this case at other times?
Is there confidential information w hich affects case value? W hy
can't/w on't/shouldn't it be disclosed? How can the other side be
persuaded to change value if it doesn't have this information?
6. W hat happens if you don't settle the case at the conference? W hat is
your best alternative to a negotiated settlement? W hy?
If settlement is reached, do you w ant it on the record?
2. Have you discussed settlement formats w ith your client? Does the client
understand structured settlements, annuities, Rule 68 offers to
3. How soon could checks/closing documents be received?
If settlement is not reached and further discovery is needed, w hat is
your plan for continued settlement discussions? Do you w ant court
involvement in these talks?
If settlement is not reached, be prepared to discuss it again at the Final