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ghoulzrulez

Small Claims Court Settlement Conferences - What to expect?

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14 hours ago, utmguy said:

If the defendant offers $0, show this case to the deputy judge:  https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onscdc/doc/2019/2019onsc4151/2019onsc4151.html

What a horrible decision.  I made that exact offer recently, and just had a Settlement Conference where the same offer was in play.

There are so many garbage cases brought by Plaintiffs that a no costs dismissal isnt an unreasonable offer.

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18 minutes ago, Bure10 said:

What a horrible decision.  I made that exact offer recently, and just had a Settlement Conference where the same offer was in play.

There are so many garbage cases brought by Plaintiffs that a no costs dismissal isnt an unreasonable offer.

Yea no kidding. Maybe, MAYBE you could argue there should be some movement when the two parties are disputing a small difference, but when its large it shouldn't be improper to stick to your position.

This is my problem with mandatory settlement/mediation. I know the court looks at it as getting things off the docket, but there are already settlement consequences in the rules that parties can rely upon (course, that assumes the Court properly considers them, but that's a separate issue).

Settlement/mediation should only be on request of both parties. 

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1 hour ago, Bure10 said:

What a horrible decision.  I made that exact offer recently, and just had a Settlement Conference where the same offer was in play.

There are so many garbage cases brought by Plaintiffs that a no costs dismissal isnt an unreasonable offer.

Though it absolutely can be when there might be case. It is also patently unreasonable for a larger corporation (FFS, AVIVA) to swing their corporate might around and refuse to entertain any discussions when the deputy judge is saying there is a case to be made by both. That's the issue - there is validity to both arguments. So don't take the hardline. This didn't seem to be a case where the Plaintiff say too much sun and is complaining that it ruined her trip.

PI/Civil lawyers ones that dabble in family law are the worst offenders as their letters actively create more conflict. It's ridiculous.

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15 hours ago, utmguy said:

If the defendant offers $0, show this case to the deputy judge:  https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onscdc/doc/2019/2019onsc4151/2019onsc4151.html

To play devil's advocate, I agree that the decision seems to have gone overboard.

That said, the rules require the parties in attendance have authority to settle (or have telephone contact etc.). There is a significant difference between being open-minded but unpersuaded and still making a $0 offer, versus being so restricted and closed-minded that it is tantamount to not having authority to settle (this was an insurance-defended matter?). So, if the latter were the case, I think it could support a costs award. Though agreeing, that doesn't seem to have been set out in this case.

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54 minutes ago, epeeist said:

To play devil's advocate, I agree that the decision seems to have gone overboard.

That said, the rules require the parties in attendance have authority to settle (or have telephone contact etc.). There is a significant difference between being open-minded but unpersuaded and still making a $0 offer, versus being so restricted and closed-minded that it is tantamount to not having authority to settle (this was an insurance-defended matter?). So, if the latter were the case, I think it could support a costs award. Though agreeing, that doesn't seem to have been set out in this case.

Here's a similar case with Aviva getting hammered at a superior court pretrial:  https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2019/2019onsc3681/2019onsc3681.html

This one is arguably a bit more defensible.  

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On 12/6/2018 at 6:27 PM, ghoulzrulez said:

I am an articling student who has my first settlement conference coming up for a small claims court matter. I've had the opportunity to lead a few trials and have attended mediation before, but have never attended a settlement conference. I'm quite familiar with the details of the case and my client's position, but apart from that, I kind of feel like I'm just prepping for a trial - I'm looking for some information on what to expect and tips on how to be well prepared. 

As others have said, make sure you have your client(s) "present" as you need settlement authority in the room.  It's a problem that crops up quite a bit at small claims.  Otherwise it's pretty low stakes and every conference is a little different.  Some are a bit off the walls.  Don't be shy about asking for time with your client alone if you need it, the point is to facilitate settlements and a private aside often assists with that purpose.  Expect pressure to settle no matter how frivolous the arguments on the other side.

Edited by Ruthenium

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On 8/15/2019 at 7:42 AM, TKNumber3 said:

Yea no kidding. Maybe, MAYBE you could argue there should be some movement when the two parties are disputing a small difference, but when its large it shouldn't be improper to stick to your position.

This is my problem with mandatory settlement/mediation. I know the court looks at it as getting things off the docket, but there are already settlement consequences in the rules that parties can rely upon (course, that assumes the Court properly considers them, but that's a separate issue).

Settlement/mediation should only be on request of both parties. 

 

I liked forced Settlement Conference in Small Claims given the nature of the Claims and often unrepresented parties. 

 

On 8/15/2019 at 8:46 AM, artsydork said:

Though it absolutely can be when there might be case. It is also patently unreasonable for a larger corporation (FFS, AVIVA) to swing their corporate might around and refuse to entertain any discussions when the deputy judge is saying there is a case to be made by both. That's the issue - there is validity to both arguments. So don't take the hardline. This didn't seem to be a case where the Plaintiff say too much sun and is complaining that it ruined her trip.

PI/Civil lawyers ones that dabble in family law are the worst offenders as their letters actively create more conflict. It's ridiculous.

 

I dont think we are talking about family law?  The issue in your first paragraph is fair but we have an ethical duty FWIW to be open minded to settlement and encouraging but its more from parties this hard line (In my experience)

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On 8/15/2019 at 8:46 AM, artsydork said:

PI/Civil lawyers ones that dabble in family law are the worst offenders as their letters actively create more conflict. It's ridiculous.

At tribunals, too. I've had clients who are about to relent and instruct settlement, and then some civil litigator sends an over-the-top, "do govern yourself accordingly" letter on a minor issue, the client freaks out, the whole thing blows up, and we have to go to a hearing that could've been avoided but-for having that civil litigator, doing his* civil litigation thing on the other side. Maybe that shit works in personal injury, but my clients are already so volatile that any aggravation is completely counterproductive. 

*It's always been a "his," when this happens. 

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12 hours ago, Bure10 said:

 

I liked forced Settlement Conference in Small Claims given the nature of the Claims and often unrepresented parties. 

 

 

I dont think we are talking about family law?  The issue in your first paragraph is fair but we have an ethical duty FWIW to be open minded to settlement and encouraging but its more from parties this hard line (In my experience)

I thought I was clear that I knew it wasn't family (Unless parent corporations meet the definition of parent now under the CLRA)... I was just comparing y'all crazy civil litigators to another area of law.

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1 hour ago, artsydork said:

I thought I was clear that I knew it wasn't family (Unless parent corporations meet the definition of parent now under the CLRA)... I was just comparing y'all crazy civil litigators to another area of law.

Fair enough, sorry for misunderstanding.  Im mostly a crim guy who dabbles in some civil lit.

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I've had a few settlement conferences. They've included: 1) a crying plaintiff; 2) a very reasonable plaintiff; 3) deputy judges who've asked me to provide the governing legislation and common law; and 4) deputy judges who spend 20 minutes discussing the merits of the case while using the remaining 40 to relive old war stories and tell us about the greatest round of golf they've ever played.

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On 8/20/2019 at 10:09 AM, TdK said:

I've had a few settlement conferences. They've included: 1) a crying plaintiff; 2) a very reasonable plaintiff; 3) deputy judges who've asked me to provide the governing legislation and common law; and 4) deputy judges who spend 20 minutes discussing the merits of the case while using the remaining 40 to relive old war stories and tell us about the greatest round of golf they've ever played.

Nothing beats the two sides going at each other hammer and tongs, screaming at each other while you, the other rep and the DJ look at each other in stunned silent all the while thinking, " WTF is happening?" 

Edited by OWH

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