Early Neutral Evaluation

Michael Betts serves as a neutral in early neutral evaluations (ENEs). ENE is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is being used more frequently to settle disputes in the early stages of the litigation process. In the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Court’s ADR Policies & Procedures recognize ENE as one of three available options for parties to select in satisfying their obligation to participate in the Court’s ADR process (the other two options are mediation and arbitration).

Like its cousin mediation, ENE is nonbinding. Although there are variations, the process usually consists of each of the attorneys summarizing the anticipated evidence and the applicable legal principles for the neutral. The neutral then assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s positions and recommends a framework to resolve the dispute. This assessment is either provided by the neutral in a joint session with all parties and their counsel in attendance or in separate private sessions with each party.

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.

Scheduling An Early Neutral Evaluation with Betts Dispute Resolution

To schedule an early neutral evaluation or for additional information about the ADR services provided by Betts Dispute Resolution, please contact us by telephone at (412) 935-7073 or online.

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