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Will I be penalized because I didn't initiate settlement discussions with opposing counsel in my lawsuit?

Long Beach, CA |
Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes

According to the California Rules of Court, I should have initiated settlement talks not less than 30 days prior to the case management conference which is next week. Here's the rule:

Thanks for the help.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    Note the rule is addressed to "the parties." Deadlines are extremely important and a party can forfeit his or her entire case or be sanctioned by the court by failure to adhere to deadlines. However, deadlines that require the parties to do something between or among themselves (as opposed to deadlines requiring something to be filed with the court) are often extended by the parties, either specifically in writing or by missing the deadline, which seams to be what happened in your case. It's best to try to meet the requirement late as opposed to ignoring it. So go ahead and call up the opposing attorney (or if the party is not represented, call the party) and talk about settlement. If you don't reach the party, leave a message. After the call or message, send a letter to the other side memorializing the communication.

    *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

  2. generally, as long as you pick up the phone and start talking about settlement and/or the potential for the framework of how to settle, that would comply and you can tell the court that you had. What the court doesn't want to hear is at the case management conference is that you have done nothing.

    start talks with opposing counsel before the cmc.

  3. No, there is no penalty for failing to discuss settlement in connection with a meet and confer in preparation for a Case Management Conference.

    However, you should be prepared to tell the judge at the CMC whether you are amenable to mediation.

    The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.

  4. Why not reach out today? Both you and your opposing counsel (if your opposing counsel has not initiated a call to you) are setting yourselves up to upset the presiding judge, which is certainly NOT in your client's best interest.

    There is no requirement that you initiate settlement talks if your client has made clear that he/she is not interested in settlement. If that is the case, then the answer to Question 6 will simply be no. However, there are a number of other issues that should be discussed with opposing counsel PRIOR to your arrival at the CMC, and I would encourage you to touch bases with opposing counsel on those points today!

    Any answer or other information posted above is general in nature and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the posting attorney, and you are urged to engage a qualified attorney who is licensed to practice in the relevant jurisdiction.

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