(a) A settlement conference is for the primary purpose of assisting the parties in resolving disputes and for the secondary purpose of narrowing the issues and preparing for hearing.

(b) Upon the request of any party, the hearing officer shall assign the case to another hearing officer appointed by the Commissioner under G.S. 58-2-55 for the purpose of conducting a settlement conference. Unless the parties and the other hearing officer agree, a unilateral request for a settlement conference does not constitute good cause for a continuance. The conference shall be conducted at a time and place agreeable to all parties and the hearing officer. It shall be conducted by telephone if any party would be required to travel more than 50 miles to attend, unless that party agrees to travel to the location set for the conference. If a telephone conference is scheduled, the parties must be available by telephone at the time of the conference.

(c) All parties shall attend or be represented at a settlement conference. Parties or their representatives shall be prepared to participate in settlement discussions.

(d) The parties shall discuss the possibility of settlement before a settlement conference if they believe that a reasonable basis for settlement exists.

(e) At the settlement conference, the parties shall be prepared to provide information and to discuss all matters required in 11 NCAC 01 .0415.

(Authority G.S. 58-2-40(1); 58-2-50; 58-2-55; 58-2-70; 150B-38(h); Eff. July 1, 1992; Amended Eff. August 1, 2004.)

The following state regulations pages link to this page.