This short item is the 8th in a series on the role of a professional engineer at the different stages of civil litigation. Others in the series are listed below in the References.
The series is intended to help lawyers and their clients understand how they can use professional engineers in the resolution of disputes with technical issues.
If mediation or arbitration is not tried or is unsuccessful then lawyers for the parties meet and confer with a judge to decide if a settlement is possible with his assistance. By this time the parties will be ready to go to trial. They will have the documents that they will be relying on, reports from professional engineers and other experts, physical and demonstrative evidence, and testimony from discovery.
The lawyers, in advance of the Settlement Conference, send the judge a brief summary of their arguments and any relevant documents.
At the conference the judge will listen to the lawyers and try to achieve a settlement. The judge will sometimes give an opinion on how they would decide the case if they heard it at trial. However, they cannot force a settlement and would not officiate at the trial because of their role in the Settlement Conference.
A professional engineer might assist counsel at this stage of civil litigation by carrying out the following tasks:
- Review all technical evidence and technical facts identified at discovery, paying particular attention to new evidence
- Re-assess determination of cause of failure, inadequate performance, or cause of accident
- Check all technical documents and information that will be relied on in counsel’s arguments during the Settlement Conference
- Identify technical evidence and facts favourable to the opposing party
- Re-assess the technical strengths and weaknesses of the claim or the defense and brief counsel
- Review and comment, as appropriate, on the technical content of counsel’s proposed summary to the judge of their arguments and documents
- Steps in the civil litigation process, published August 28, 2012
- The role of a professional engineer in counsel’s decision to take a case, published June 26, 2012
- The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel prepare a Notice of Claim, published July 26, 2012
- The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel prepare a Statement of Claim, published September 11, 2012
- The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel prepare a Statement of Defence, published September 26, 2012
- The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel prepare an Affidavit of Documents, published October 4, 2012
- The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel during Discovery, published October 16, 2012
- The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel during Alternate Dispute Resolutionn (ADR), published November 16, 2012