December 21, 2012 Articles

Limitations on Court's Discretion to Compel Attendance at Settlements

By Raymond A. Garcia and Ingrid C. Festin

Common wisdom is that settlements are more likely to occur if people who are fully authorized to settle cases attend mediations. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has noted that while a court has the authority to direct a high-ranking government official who has full authority to settle a case to be present at a settlement conference, it is an abuse of discretion to order the high-ranking official's attendance absent facts indicating that the lower-ranking official who only has the authority to recommend settlement would be ineffective at the proceedings. U.S. v. U.S. Dist. Court for N. Mariana Islands, 694 F.3d 1051, 1059–61 (9th Cir. 2012). [Subscription required.]

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