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Mediation and Settlement

The court encourages dispute resolution without litigation. Chapter 8 of the Local Rules governs court-annexed arbitration; Chapter 9 of the Local Rules governs court-annexed mediation.

Most case management and scheduling orders include a requirement that the parties attend a mediation conference with a specified court-certified mediator by a specified deadline. In selecting the mediator, the court usually will defer to the parties' suggestion. In accordance with Local Rule 9.03(a), the court will not order mediation in cases involving appeals from rulings of administrative agencies, requests for habeas corpus relief, requests for extraordinary writs, forfeitures of seized properties, and bankruptcy appeals. 

In limited circumstances, a judge may order the parties to attend a settlement conference before a magistrate judge, whether at a party's request, a request by all parties, or on the judge's own initiative. A settlement conference before a magistrate judge proceeds in much the same way as a mediation before a private mediator.