United States District Court, D. Nevada
W. MYHRE Acting United States Attorney
A. VANCE Assistant United States Attorney
UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM REQUIREMENT THAT
PERSON WITH SETTLEMENT AUTHORITY ATTEND SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
EXPEDITED REVIEW REQUESTED
A. Leen United States Magistrate Judge
early neutral evaluation (“ENE”) session is
scheduled in this case for April 13, 2017, at 1:30 p.m.
before United States Magistrate Judge Peggy A. Leen. (ECF No.
18). The order setting the ENE conference requires a
government representative with “full [settlement]
authority” to attend the conference. (ECF No. 18 p. 1).
For the reasons argued below, Defendants respectfully request
that the Court authorize Assistant United States Attorney
(“AUSA”) Holly A. Vance to participate in the
settlement conference in person as the sole representative
for the government. Plaintiff Dree Ann Cellemme
(“Plaintiff”) was contacted and has advised that
she has no objection to Defendants' request.
federal government is unlike any other litigant. U.S. v.
U.S. Dist. Court for the N. Mariana Islands, 694 F.3d
1051, 1059 (9th Cir. 2012). Because the government handles a
very large number of cases, it would be impractical, if not
physically impossible, for those with settlement authority to
prepare for C and appear at C all settlement conferences.
Id. The Advisory Committee notes that accompany the
1993 amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16
acknowledge the unique position that the federal government
occupies as a litigant: “Particularly in litigation in
which governmental agencies * * * are involved, there may be
no one with on-the-spot settlement authority, and the most
that should be expected is access to a person who would have
a major role in submitting a recommendation to the body or
board with ultimate decision-making responsibility.”
government delegates settlement authority to select
individuals in order to promote centralized decision-making.
U.S. Dist. Court for the N. Mariana Islands at
1059-6060. Centralized decision-making promotes three
important government objectives. Id. First, it
allows the government to act consistently in important cases.
Id. Second, centralized decision-making allows the
executive branch to pursue policy goals more effectively by
placing ultimate authority in the hands of a few officials.
Id. Third, by giving authority to high-ranking
officials, centralized decision-making better promotes
political accountability. Id. In light of these
principles, the Ninth Circuit has determined that the
district court should adopt a “practical
approach” in deciding whether to require a government
representative with full settlement authority to attend a
pre-trial conference. According to the Ninth Circuit, only as
a “last resort” should the district court require
an official with full settlement authority to participate in
a pre-trial conference in person. Id.
with U.S. Dist. Court for the N. Mariana Islands,
the government routinely requests that the district court
allow the line attorney assigned to the case to appear in
person at an ENE conference as the sole representative for
the government. Before the settlement conference, that line
attorney discusses the case thoroughly with those government
representatives who do have settlement authority in order to
determine the range of settlement offers that would be
acceptable to the government. This approach has not hampered
settlement discussions or created an impediment to settlement
in the hundreds of ENE conferences in which the government
has participated over the years. In fact, hundreds of cases
involving the government have settled over the years
utilizing this approach. Accordingly, Defendants respectfully
request that the Court authorize AUSA Vance to participate in
the settlement conference as the sole representative for the
government. Defense counsel contacted Plaintiff who advised
that she does not object to Defendants' request. (Vance
Decl ¶ 3).
reasons argued above, Defendants respectfully request that
the Court grant Defendants' Unopposed Motion for Relief
from Requirement that Person with Settlement Authority Attend
OF HOLLY A. VANCE
Holly A. Vance, hereby declare as follows pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1746:
serve as an Assistant United States Attorney with the
Department of Justice, United States Attorney's Office in
Reno, Nevada. I have ...