LR 16. PRETRIAL PROCEDURE AND FORMULATING ISSUES (a) Pre-Trial Conferences. Pre-trial Conferences are required in all cases except family law cases. Any order for a pre-trial conference shall be in the form of and include the provisions as set forth in Appendix A Form A-6. The pre-trial conference shall be held not less than twenty-one (21) calendar days prior to the trial date. (b) Pre-Trial Order. A pre-trial order as set forth in Appendix A Form A-7 shall be prepared by counsel within fourteen (14) calendar days after the conclusion of the pre-trial conference. (c) Exhibits. Parties shall notify the trial judge and the opposing party by letter if that party anticipates offering twenty-five (25)exhibits or more at the time of trial. Said notice shall be given no less than fourteen (14)calendar days prior to the trial date. (d) Settlement Conferences (1) On Motion by Party. Any party in any pending case may serve and file a motion for a settlement conference. (2) On Court's Motion. The court to which a case is assigned for trial may, upon its own motion after a trial date has been set, order a settlement conference in any pending case, and a settlement conference shall be held unless all parties file objections thereto. (3) Subsequent Motion by Party. Where a motion for a settlement conference has been defeated by the filing of an objection, any future motion must be made upon a showing of a significant change in circumstances. (4) Order for Settlement Conference. Upon the entry of an order for a settlement conference, the judge shall fix a specific date and hour for the conference. If either party has a limited ability to speak or understand the English Language then the order shall provide for an interpreter and identify the language needing interpreting. The party presenting such order for entry shall at the time of entry provide a copy to the Judicial Assistant. (5) Preparation and Attendance. The attorney in charge of each party's case shall personally attend all settlement conferences and shall, not less than five (5) days prior to the date set for the settlement conference, serve on the settlement judge and the attorney for the opposing party a letter succinctly addressing the following: a. A brief factual summary; b. Issues regarding liability; c. Issues regarding damages,both special and general d. History of any settlement negotiations; and e. Current position on settlement. In family law cases, counsel shall also serve on the settlement judge and attorney for the opposing party the completed Asset & Debt Matrix (Appendix A form A-1) and financial declaration (WPF DRPSCU 01.1550) Each attorney shall be prepared to discuss the foregoing in detail at the settlement conference. (6) Attendance of Parties. The parties shall in all cases attend the settlement conference. Parties whose defense is provided by a liability insurance company need not personally attend said settlement conference, but a representative of the insurer of such party, if such a representative is available, shall attend with sufficient authority to bind the insurer to a settlement. In the event such a representative is not available, counsel representing the party whose defense is provided by the insurer shall make a good faith effort to obtain settlement authority to bind the insurer to a settlement prior to the settlement conference. Upon timely request, attendance of any party may be excused by the court where by reason of health, or other good and sufficient reason, compelling their personal attendance would be unduly burdensome. (7) Proceedings Privileged. Proceedings of said settlement conference shall, in all respects, be privileged and shall not be reported or recorded. When a settlement has been reached, the judge may, at the request of any party, order the settlement to be reported or recorded. (8) Sanctions. Where a party has failed to comply with any of the provisions of this rule the court shall make such orders as are just, which shall include the award of reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, caused by the failure, unless the court finds that the failure was substantially justified or that other circumstances make an award of expenses unjust. (e) Agreed Statement of the Case. In all civil jury trials the parties shall jointly prepare a neutral and agreed summary description of the case. The court will read that statement during the orientation phase of selection. Amended Effective September 1, 2013
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