Settlement of your employment claim may occur at any point in the pre-litigation or litigation process. Understanding the key factors influencing employment settlement in San Clemente may help you through your employment claim.
Depending on the facts and circumstances, we may give the other side an opportunity to informally settle the claim prior to the filing of a lawsuit. There are several pros and cons to attempting settlement at this stage. It eliminates large fees and costs that can quickly escalate once a complaint is filed. If the matter is settled without litigation, the claims will likely not be made public, which is something that the employer may want to avoid. The confidentiality of the settlement is also something that has a monetary value, as far as settlement.
Additionally, the settlement value of the claim may be affected by the type of employer – small family-owned business, large corporation, or something in between. Simply because the defendant is a large corporation does not necessarily mean that they would be willing to settle for a larger amount. However, a large corporation may not be willing to make the employee’s claims public, as it may affect the stock price, public opinion, etc.
An early San Clemente employment settlement allows both sides to avoid having to assist in the litigation process, which includes responding to written questions and participating in depositions, which can be time consuming. At this stage, both parties are somewhat in the dark about the claims and the potential witnesses and evidence. Depending on what information is known (or wanted to be kept confidential), such information will also have an effect on the value of settlement.
No case is ever perfect for either party. Thus, there are always facts/witnesses that are good for one side and bad for the other. Obviously, the existence of such bad facts and witnesses affects the overall value of the case. However, it is important to disclose this type of information to your attorneys, as they need to be prepared for every eventuality, even if those facts may not be beneficial to your case. Similarly, even with the best facts, some witnesses (including the plaintiff) may simply not come across well to a jury; so early settlement is a good option. Alternatively, some employers do not want to be seen as willing to settle easily, so they may want to force an employee to litigate as an example for future claims.
Once the employer becomes aware of a claim, they are generally required to notify their insurer. Usually, the insurance company will pay for and provide attorneys to defend the employer. Although the insurer is only providing the defense, they play a large part in settlement and litigation, as most policies provide the funding for settlement. Similarly, the employer’s insurance premiums will also be affected by both the litigation and the settlement.
Once a complaint has been filed on your behalf against another party, the litigation process begins. During litigation, there are several opportunities to settle the matter. Sometimes, the court will order that the parties to participate in mediation and/or settlement conferences. During mediation, a retired judge or an experienced, objective attorney determines or recommends an outcome to the case, as well as providing an opinion about the value of the case. These proceeding are often successful, as it is helpful to hear an opinion of each party’s case from an objective third party. In choosing a mediator, each party will usually propose a list of two or three mediators, and then the parties will agree on one.
A settlement conference is usually done at the courthouse, with a judge who conducts the conferences. This will be a different judge than the trial judge, and there are generally no options from which to choose, as it is a designated settlement judge. Again, the parties are not forced to settle, but are merely informed of the strengths and weaknesses of their cases and given judge’s opinion of the value of the case.
In either of these processes, the judge or mediator may also offer the parties a “mediator’s proposal.” This entails the mediator providing a range in which the parties agree to settle. The parties do not know the exact range of the proposal prior to agreeing to it. It is not technically binding, but the parties generally will settle within the proposed range.
The parties may choose to participate in either or none of these proceedings, unless it is ordered by the court. However, they can be helpful and a more cost effective means of obtaining a desired result. In litigation, the possibility of settlement never ends. The parties may always continue to negotiate, and it is not unusual to settle on the eve of or during trial.
To discuss a possible early San Clemente employment settlement, contact Schwartz Law at 888-730-0529.