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Legal disputes are often expensive and time-consuming to resolve. In 1996, the Santa Barbara Superior Court’s Appropriate Dispute Resolution Programs Committee began work on a “multi-door courthouse” model designed to offer litigants with pending civil cases several alternatives for resolution of their cases other than traditional litigation of the dispute. The committee’s work culminated in the inauguration of the CADRe Program in July of 1999. As of April 2005 the program enjoys a cumulative total resolution rate of nearly 83%.
The Committee developed the following dispute resolution alternatives
along with the existing litigation format:
Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) – A neutral with subject matter expertise evaluates the claims and supporting evidence and offers an assessment of the merits of the case. The evaluator can clarify the central issues in dispute, assist with discovery and motion planning, or can facilitate settlement discussions if requested by the parties. These assessments are not binding, however, equipped with this information cases often settle at or shortly after the NE.Go to the CADRe Neutral Evaluator Panel Roster.
General CADRe Procedures
Per California Rule of Court 3.221 and Santa Barbara Superior Court Rule 1102, plaintiffs or their attorneys are required to provide CADRe Program information and an ADR Stipulation form to all other parties at the time of serving them with the summons and complaint. Per SBSC Rules 1309 and 1102 all parties to the litigation must file a Case Management Statement no later than fifteen days before the initial Case Management Conference and serve copies of their Case Management Statement on all other parties. The statement form and all other CADRe-related forms can be filled-out online from the CADRe website if the user has Adobe Acrobat Reader® installed on their PC.
At the initial Case Management Conference the judge will make a determination of the amount in controversy. If the judge determines that the amount in controversy exceeds $50,000.00, the judge may refer the case to CADRe for “CMADRESS,” which stands for Case Management Alternative Dispute Resolution Early Settlement Session. This order requires trial counsel and their clients to attend a mediation consultation with a neutral assigned to the case by the CADRe Director to discuss the potential benefits of ADR for their case. The neutral will then submit a brief report on the consultation to the court via the CADRe office.
Cases with an amount in controversy that does not exceed $50,000.00 [which in the past may have been sent to non-binding judicial arbitration] may now be sent to Limited Mediation instead of judicial arbitration via the CADRe program at no (or reduced) cost to the participants. For Limited Mediation, the parties must always contact the CADRe office first for CADRe to assign a mediator to the case at court expense. If the parties do not follow CADRe mediator assignment procedures, then the parties are responsible for paying in full for the services of the mediator they contact, and the court will not pay any portion of it.
According to SBSC Rule 1102 if the parties agree on an ADR process, they will then select a neutral to conduct the ADR process from the CADRe panel rosters, contact the neutral, set the date for the ADR process, and return the ADR Stipulation form to the CADRe office. They will then usually have 60 days to participate in ADR, unless the judge has given them a different deadline to complete ADR. At the conclusion of the ADR process the neutral then has 10 days to file a Statement of Agreement or Non-Agreement with the Court.
The goal of the CADRe program is to resolve most civil cases entering the program within seven months of filing. Statistical information on the program's performance is also available on the CADRe website, and is updated quarterly.
This page updated: June 16, 2005