By a MetNews Staff Writer
Mandatory settlement conferences in personal injury cases—halted in light of the pandemic—will be resumed using remote technology, Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor said yesterday.
Next Monday, judges will begin routing cases into the program, it was announced.
The “Resolve Law LA Virtual Mandatory Settlement Conference Program,” Taylor said, will be conducted in collaboration with the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel (“ASCDC”), the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (“CAALA”), the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (“LA ABOTA”), and the Beverly Hills Bar Foundation (“BHBF”). He commented:
“The court is very pleased to partner with ASCDC, CAALA, LA ABOTA, and BHBF to offer this innovative virtual MSC program. I would like to acknowledge Supervising Civil Judge David Cowan for working with our bar partners to organize this creative solution to increase access to justice.
“The Resolve Law LA Virtual MSC Program and its volunteers will help the Court address pandemic-related workloads and provide litigants in Los Angeles County another way to conveniently resolve their cases before trial.”
Taylor said the program is modeled after the in-person one launched in 2017 at the Spring Street Courthouse, with one plaintiffs’ lawyer and one defense lawyer acting as settlement officers in free, three-hour sessions.
“This new program brings the advantages of new technology—to provide an effective way for people to see and hear one another and work through their differences—together with the insights that experienced lawyers from both sides of the bar can offer litigants as to the strengths and weaknesses of their positions. We are extremely grateful to the lawyers who volunteer to provide this invaluable service to our community and make this program possible.”
It was specified that cases would be sent to the program at final settlement conferences and that the judge in the case will be available, remotely, to assist during the conference, if necessary.
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