A person who is unhappy with the decision of a trial court in Nevada may decide to appeal. However, that does not necessarily mean that the case will end up before the appellate court or Supreme Court. According to the Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure, a settlement conference program administrator will review the case, and may decide that it should be redirected to that program rather than proceeding in the appellate court.
This program, which involves mediation, is reserved for cases where everyone involved is represented by attorneys, and attendance is mandatory. A settlement judge will serve as the mediator, and will accept and review the statement submitted by each party. This must include:
- All relevant facts
- Issues that are being appealed
- Support and weak points of the argument
- Settlement proposal
- Any other matters that may be relevant
The Supreme Court of Nevada explains that a settlement judge will conduct further evaluation of the case before accepting it in the program. This includes a phone conference with the attorneys for each party.
Once it has been accepted, the case is not decided by the settlement judge. These judges have special training in mediation and have extensive knowledge of the appeals system and the issues that may arise in these types of cases. Under the guidance of this professional, the parties are encouraged to come to a mutually agreed upon settlement. The judge may promote resolution through activities such as the following:
- Asking questions
- Defining issues
- Assisting with the development of reasonable proposals
- Evaluating settlement offers
Although the parties may sit down with the judge in a joint mediation session, there may be cases where the judge will require individual sessions, as well. If an acceptable solution is not reached, the case will be redirected to the appellate court.