CAMP-ing tonight, CAMP-ing tonight


We all have had our experiences with the First Circuit settlement process (CAMP).

My personal favorite story is I had a case dismissed for forum non conveniens at the district court, and the settlement counsel kept insisting that the client show up in person.  I said, "he's in Colombia.  Forum non conveniens, yes?"  Eventually, when I said I was going to take the issue to the Court itself,settlement counsel agreed that on the phone was good enough.  (There was no settlement; the dismissal was affirmed.)

That was years ago, and lately I think there's been some focus on accommodating the specifics of cases and lessening the burdens on counsel from outside Massachusetts, like Maine.  I've had some success, for example, in being absolved from having to go down to Boston for the conference in cases where the state is being sued because of an allegedly unconstitutional statute.  It is now recognized, I think, there isn't much chance of that type of case settling.

But yesterday something happened that I had never heard of.  One of my colleagues here at PA had an oral argument with Chief Judge Lynch, Judge Lipez and Judge Torruella.  The result was that the case went back for more CAMP discussions.  The panel made the suggestion and the parties agreed.  

I've gone to appellate conferences where settlement efforts at the appellate level were discussed, and the key is to create systems that can easily identify and concentrate on the subset of cases that really do have settlement possibilities.  It can be a useful tool – for the right appeal. The trick is designing the process to focus on those cases.