Background and History
Attorneys in Santa Barbara have by now, after more than a year of operation,
become readily familiar with the name of the new CADRe program, CMADRESS (Case
Management Alternative Dispute Resolution Early Settlement Session). This
was spearheaded by Judge J. William McLafferty and the ADR Committee of the
Santa Barbara Superior Court. After many months of planning and successful
for funding from the Administrative Office of the Courts in Sacramento, the
CMADRESS program can now be considered a success after its first full year.
Administration of the CMADRESS program by the court was delegated to the CADRe
office. Many facilitators who already qualified as CADRe neutrals volunteered
to participate for assignment in the CMADRESS program. Therefore, not all CADRe
neutrals receive CMADRESS assignments. The assignments are by random
Report Card after One Year
Judge McLafferty recently conducted a meeting seeking feedback in response
to the CMADRESS program from the local bar and participating facilitators. The
overall consensus of opinion was favorable for the CMADRESS program. Current
funding from the grant has been able to sustain the program. One new change
created was to extend the amount of time to complete the CMADRESS from 45 days
to 60 days after assignment of the neutral. This will allow all sides to
become better prepared for the session and will also accommodate some
obstacles. Also, if additional time is needed beyond this 60 day period, it
will now be the responsibility of the parties to obtain permission to conduct
the CMADRESS beyond this deadline. Formerly, it was the responsibility of the
assigned facilitator to obtain additional time to conduct the CMADRESS.
The CADRe website maintains statistics on all the CMADRESS case assignments.
This includes, among many other items, the number of cases that have been
to CMADRESS for both North and South County, the number that have been
the number that have segued into mediation subsequent to the Early Settlement
Session and reached agreement and those that have also segued into mediation
subsequent to the Early Settlement Session but have ended in no agreement.
statistics are regularly updated.
The statistics speak to the success of the CMADRESS program for both the North
and South County. More cases have been referred to the CMADRESS program in the
South County giving it a numerical, statistical advantage. However, review of
the statistics for both locations shows that during the course of one year,
more and more cases are resolving by way of the CMADRESS program.
Your New Case and CMADRESS
Assignment to CMADRESS begins at a Case Management Conference of any civil
case. CMADRESS is used for all civil litigation cases determined by the court
to have a value in excess of $50,000.00. CMADRESS is not used with family law
matters. At the time of the CMC when the case is ordered to CMADRESS, the
can also expect that the court will set a Mandatory Settlement Conference date
as well as a corresponding Trial date.
Once ordered to CMADRESS, all sides must move promptly to contact the CADRe
office within a specific time frame (10 days) for assignment of a neutral. The
deadline imposed by the court to complete the CMADRESS session is now 60 days
from assignment of the neutral and this change should be reflected in all
Case Management orders. Similar to the CADRe Limited Mediation assignment, once
a facilitator is assigned to the CMADRESS case, the parties and attorneys must
initiate contact with the facilitator to schedule a session. When the
is arranged within the time line allowed by the court, the parties must notify
the CADRe office of the date, time and place of the session.
In attempting to schedule the CMADRESS session, if the parties and/or
find they are unable to conduct the session within the court’s 60 day
deadline, a request for an extension of time can be made. This request must
explain briefly the reason for the delay and the need for more time. Approval
is obtained from Judge McLafferty only, not the assigned trial judge. This rule
applies to cases in the North as well as South County. The request should also
specify the exact quantity of additional time by advising the court of the
CMADRESS session date. The extension of time to complete CMADRESS does not
to the MSC or Trial date. Those will remain unchanged if the court approves
the request for an extension of time to conduct a CMADRESS session.
of the MSC and/or Trial Dates must be directed to the assigned Trial Judge and
should be joined in by the assigned neutral.
Participating in the CMADRESS
Conducting the CMADRESS for all intents and purposes is the same or similar
to that of any Mandatory Settlement Conference or Mediation. The necessary
with full settlement authority are required to attend. Telephonic appearances
will not be allowed. The designated Trial attorney for each side is also
to attend the CMADRESS. All sides are encouraged to submit briefs to the
so to better understand the facts of the case.
During the CMADRESS, the facilitator will discuss with all sides CMADRESS,
the ADR process and alternative ADR methods available. This will include costs
of discovery for alternative ADR methods as well as costs of discovery for
and eventual Trial costs. The facilitator is paid by the court for the three
hour CMADRESS session. Thereafter, if the parties and attorneys agree to use
an alternate ADR method enlisting the services of the assigned facilitator,
payment to this neutral becomes the responsibility of the litigants. The
and/or attorneys are also entitled to arrange for someone other than the
CMADRESS facilitator should they intend to pursue other alternate ADR methods
in lieu of or in addition to the CMADRESS session. In the event of either of
those two options, a stipulation on the CADRe form must be fully completed,
signed and submitted to the CADRe office for approval by the Court and filing,
and the parties will be responsible for the facilitator’s fees.
At the conclusion of the CMADRESS session, the facilitator serves and files
a CMADRESS report with the court listing those in attendance, whether any
ADR is being considered, if any extensions of time will be necessary, and if
the topics of ADR and Trial including discovery and costs of litigation were
discussed. The parties and/or attorneys are requested to complete a CMADRESS
evaluation of the neutral to be returned to the CADRe office.
In summary, after one year, the CMADRESS program hit the ground running and
has performed successfully, in many cases beyond the expectations of the local
bar and the court. There is ongoing fine tuning to be made by the ADR committee
of the Superior Court. This can only be done with future public bar input. It
is the hope of the ADR committee that the current success of the program will
result in future funding from the AOC in Sacramento for this court and,
other Courts in California, as this is a pilot program for all of the State