Judge Guilford of the District Court for the Central District of California holds that the Court has authority to sanction a party for failing to show up for a scheduled mediation. However, Judge Guilford denied the requests for sanctions on this case. Plaintiff moved for sanctions on the grounds that one of the Defendants failed to appear at mediation. The court found authority under FRCivP Rule 16(c)(1) to order parties to participate in a pretrial settlement conference. Under local rules the parties must participate in at least one ADR procedure prior to trial. In this case Judge Guilford ordered the parties to participate in an ADR procedure and the parties chose mediation. Judge Guilford held that the court has broad discretion to sanction parties for violations of Rule 16, including failure to appear for mediation. However, in this case there was confusion about whether one of the parties had a representative with settlement authority at the mediation. More importantly, Judge Guilford found that the deadline for participating in mediation had not passed. Therefore, the allegedly missing defendant still had time to comply with Rule 16 by participating in good faith in a mediation scheduled prior to the pretrial conference.
Drop Stop LLC v. Jian Qing Zhu, CV 16-07916-AG (SSX), 2017 WL 3433695, (C.D. Cal. June 30, 2017).
This case analysis was prepared by Christopher L. Blank, Esq., 4675 MacArthur Court, Suite 550, Newport Beach, CA 92660; (949) 250-4600; firstname.lastname@example.org. Cases, statutes or rules summarized or cited herein should not be relied upon without fully reading the case, statute or rule, and checking subsequent case history, etc.