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Painter v. Adams

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

November 16, 2017

GREGORY TODD PAINTER, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
JONATHAN ADAMS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          David C. Keesler United States Magistrate Judge.

         THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on Plaintiff's “Motion For Disclosure Of Brief” (Document No. 120) filed on November 15, 2017. This motion has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), and immediate review is appropriate. Having carefully considered the motion, the record, and applicable authority, the undersigned will deny the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         “Defendants' Motion For Judicial Settlement Conference” (Document No. 111) was filed on October 16, 2017. Defendants stated that they believed the parties “will be able to reach a settlement with the aid of a judicial officer, ” and that Plaintiff “does not object to this motion.” (Document No. 111).

         On October 17, 2017, the Honorable Max O. Cogburn, Jr. granted Defendants' motion, referring the matter to the undersigned as judicial settlement officer, and opining that the undersigned's participation “will not create a barrier under Local Rule 16.3(D) in the further handling of this case inasmuch as the pretrial substantive issues have been resolved.” (Document No. 113).

         On October 23, 2017, the undersigned issued an Order scheduling a Judicial Settlement Conference for November 21, 2017. Also on October 23, 2017, the undersigned issued additional instructions to counsel for the parties regarding the Judicial Settlement Conference by a letter sent by United States mail. See (Document No. 120-1). That letter included the following pertinent requirements and information:

Confidential Settlement Briefs: Not longer than 5 pages, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of your position and the perceived strengths and weaknesses of your opponent's position. Please include a statement of what your client believes would be a fair resolution of the matter. Briefs should be delivered to chambers only (at the above address) on or before November 14, 2017.
Format: The Court generally follows the North Carolina mediation rules . . .
The judicial settlement conference is confidential. Nothing said, done, or produced during the conference shall constitute an admission of liability or an agreement adverse to the participating party's interest. By attending this conference, the parties agree to such confidentiality as well as to summary enforcement by an appropriate Order of the district court.
I look forward to working with you at the judicial settlement conference. While a copy of this letter is being shared with the presiding district judge, the matters discussed at the conference will not be shared unless a final resolution is reached.

(Document No. 120-1) (emphasis in original letter).

         Plaintiff filed a “Motion For Leave To Amend The Complaint” (Document No. 115) pursuant to Judge Cogburn's order to file a motion to amend. See (Document No. 112, p.15). The motion to amend was originally referred to the undersigned; however, that referral was removed on November 15, 2017.

         DISCUSSION

         By the instant motion, Plaintiff seeks to compel the disclosure of Defendants' confidential settlement brief submitted pursuant to the undersigned's directions. (Document No. 120). Plaintiff contends he interpreted “Confidential” to exempt the parties from electronic filing pursuant to Local Rule 5.2.1(B), but believed that the parties' confidential settlement briefs still had to be served on all parties pursuant to Local Rules 5.2.1(E) and 5.3(C). Id. Plaintiff contends that he “will suffer prejudice if Defendants are permitted to argue positions regarding a pending Motion before ...


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