Update on San Francisco Asbestos Settlement Conferences

Judge Lee Trying Out New Approach

Judge Lee, the presiding judge of the San Francisco Asbestos Department, has set forth a new Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC) system for San Francisco asbestos cases. She stated that she has been frustrated with the failure of the parties to appear with authority, and the lack of progress made during past MSCs. Further, she added that she is aware of the complaints of insurers and defense counsel that there have been too many MSCs in the past. She had considered scrapping asbestos MSCs altogether, but is trying out a new system that she did a trial run on at the start of August.

For those cases that have trial preference or are running up to the five-year statute of limitations deadline, the parties are to send an email to Pang Ly (SF court settlement coordinator) detailing an analysis on the case's settlement value, and including disclosure of the individuals with settlement authority.

So far, this is scheduled for cases set for trial over the next six weeks, but we anticipate the court making this the new MSC system going forward.