Settlement facilitation is a form of mediation. The facilitator, or mediator, assists the parties in reaching a resolution, but does not dictate the terms of settlement. He or she helps the parties assess the strengths and weaknesses of their cases and may suggest a possible solution. However, the parties have the power to create their own mutually satisfactory agreement. Local rules mandate an attempt at facilitation of many civil cases, with some exceptions. Facilitators may be chosen by parties (or their attorneys) or by the Court, through the ADR Office. Cost can vary, but a typical facilitation will cost $500 for a half day. This cost is shared by the parties.
What does the Court process involve?
- The District Court Judge assigned to a case makes a determination for referral for settlement facilitation. The Judge will send all parties a Scheduling Order.
Any party may at any time request referral of a case to a settlement conference. The request must be made in writing and must contain all information required by Appendix A, LR3-Form 7.10. The request shall be sent to the ADR Program Manager and must include the following:
- Case Number and caption;
- Addresses and telephone numbers of all counsel and pro se parties;
- Whether or not other parties have agreed that a settlement conference is appropriate;
- A brief list of the pending issues or brief description of the type of case sufficient to give the ADR Program Manager some indication of the areas of expertise which might be helpful to a settlement facilitator.
- Submission for requests for settlement conferences may be unilateral and without notice to the other party.
- Upon referral to the ADR Program, the parties may choose to select their own settlement facilitator. Selection must be done by the deadline indicated on their Scheduling Order. If the parties select their own facilitator, the parties shall file with the Clerk’s Office a Notice of Facilitator Selection Form (LR3-Form 7.11 NMRA).
- If a settlement facilitator is not selected the ADR Program Manager will assign one.
What happens when a Settlement Facilitator has been Selected/Assigned?
- The Settlement Facilitator will make contact to schedule the settlement conference.
- Parties shall complete and provide the Settlement Facilitator with the information required in the Settlement Conference Information Sheetattached to the Order Assigning Settlement Facilitator.
- In the event of a change of address or telephone number, the parties shall provide the court and the Settlement Facilitator the information as soon as possible.
- Parties shall attend the settlement conference and shall be respectful and cooperate in good faith with the process.
- In the event that any party is not able to attend the settlement conference due to an emergency the Settlement Facilitator shall be contacted immediately.
- The Parties shall remit payment to the Settlement Facilitator as mutually agreed upon. Failure to pay fees may result in an Order to Show Cause to be issued by the court.