In a settlement conference, the complainants alleged that the judge was in a conflict of interest, insisted he would hear the settlement conference notwithstanding the complainants’ objection, and made various inappropriate comments.

webid-20150000

In a settlement conference, the complainants alleged that the judge was in a conflict of interest, insisted he would hear the settlement conference notwithstanding the complainants’ objection, and made various inappropriate comments.

A careful review of the transcripts of the settlement conference showed three important things: (1) that at the outset, the judge explained the purpose of a settlement conference and the many reasons why a settlement is important, and made it clear that it was not a trial, an arbitration, or a mediation; the judge discussed the conflict of interest matter and he explained that because he was not going to be overseeing the trial, both parties would have an opportunity to ask him questions; (2) that at the end of the session, many questions were asked of the judge; among others things, the judge was asked to provide his opinion on the case, which he did; and (3) that the judge clearly did not make the comments allegedly made. The judge commented and stated that both parties were represented by counsel and both counsel agreed, after a discussion with the judge on the conflict of interest issue, to proceed with the settlement conference concluding that this aspect of the complaint had no merit. The matter was closed.

Back