United States District Court - Northern District Court of California

Claudia Wilken, Chief Judge

Richard W. Wieking, Clerk of Court

ADR Phone Conferences

An ADR phone conference is ordinarily conducted because the parties filed a Notice of Need for ADR Phone Conference under ADR L. R. 3-5 (.pdf).  Notices of Need for ADR Phone Conference are filed either because the parties (1)  have not reached an agreement to an ADR process or (2)  have tentatively agreed to a settlement conference before a magistrate judge.  ADR Staff also may schedule a phone conference to address issues that arise concerning ADR after a referral has been made.

Purpose

The purpose of the conference is to help the parties select or design an ADR process most likely to benefit the particular case.  The court offers the following ADR options:

In only a limited number of cases that would most benefit from the option, the court also offers an Early Settlement Conference with a Magistrate Judge.  If this is the option the parties prefer, during the ADR phone conference they should discuss their reasons for this preference and consider whether a different ADR process may be better suited for this case.  If, after the ADR phone conference, they still prefer the option of an Early Settlement Conference with a Magistrate Judge, the ADR legal staff may make a recommendation to the judge regarding the case’s suitability for this option.  The assigned judge will then decide whether to refer the case to an Early Settlement Conference with a Magistrate Judge.  

Additionally, with the court's approval, parties may substitute a private ADR procedure for a court program.

Participants (See ADR L.R. 3-5(d)(1)) (.pdf)

Counsel who will be primarily responsible for handling the trial of the matter shall participate in the conference.  Clients and their insurance carriers are encouraged to participate as well.

Logistics (See ADR L.R. 3-5(d)(2)) (.pdf)

For the convenience of the parties and in lieu of the procedure set forth in ADR L.R. 3-5(d)(2)) (.pdf), the court will arrange for a dial-in conference line for the call.  The call-in service the court uses does require a long-distance telephone call.  If the cost of calling the number presents a problem, parties may contact the ADR Office and other arrangements shall be made.  In the event that the conferencing service experiences technical problems, plaintiff’s counsel shall assume responsibility for the call in keeping with the requirements of ADR L.R. 3-5(d)(2)) (.pdf).

Attorney and Client Preparation (See ADR L.R. 3-5(d)(3)) (.pdf)

The phone conference will be conducted by one of the court’s ADR Program legal staff.  Parties will be asked their views as to which ADR process they favor and will be encouraged to ask questions about the available ADR options. To prepare for the conference, parties should review with their clients the ADR Local Rules and the booklet entitled Dispute Resolution Procedures in the Northern District of California (.pdf). The court reserves one half-hour for the call.

Exemption from the ADR Phone Conference Requirement

    1)    Stipulation to an ADR Process (See ADR L.R. 3-5(c)) (.pdf)

Parties will be exempted from participating in the phone conference if, before the date of the conference, they file a stipulation and proposed order selecting an ADR process other than an Early Settlement Conference with a Magistrate Judge and send, fax or email a copy to the ADR Unit.  If they intend to stipulate to an Early Settlement Conference with a Magistrate Judge, they must participate in an ADR phone conference.

    2)    Termination of Case

Parties should call the ADR Unit to remove their case from the phone conference calendar if the case is dismissed or otherwise terminated before the date set for the phone conference.