Affordable And Professional Early Neutral Evaluation Services
Attorney Michael Betts serves as a neutral in early neutral evaluations (ENE). ENE is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that is being used more frequently to settle disputes in the early stages of the litigation process. Like its cousin mediation, ENE is nonbinding. Although there are variations, each party’s attorneys typically summarize the anticipated evidence and the applicable legal principles. Then, the neutral assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s positions and recommends a framework to resolve the dispute.
ENE is recognized as one of the three acceptable options for parties to elect in satisfying their obligation to participate in the court’s ADR process (the other two options are mediation and arbitration).
When an ENE is held under the auspices of the Western District of Pennsylvania’s ADR process, the parties are required to submit to the neutral and serve other parties with written position statements. The statements must include various required items of information about the issues in the case, the parties’ positions and the history of any settlement negotiations.
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Discussions during the ENE session are confidential. The neutral, however, is required to file a report with the court within five days after the session indicating whether the case has been resolved, whether a follow-up session has been scheduled and whether the parties have agreed to any stipulations.