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Heileman Brewing Co. Inc. v. Joseph Oat Corporation: Defining the Perimeters of Judicial Involvement in the Settlement Process

NCJ Number
123348
Journal
Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution Volume: 5 Issue: 1 Dated: (1989) Pages: 115-139
Author(s)
S K Antalovich
Date Published
1989
Length
25 pages
Annotation
This article provides guidelines for judicial involvement in settlement conferences based on the lessons learned from the judge's involvement in the settlement conference for Heileman Brewing Co., Inc. v. Joseph Oat Corporation.
Abstract
In 1980, Joseph Oat Corporation supplied a pretreatment system for a waste water treatment plant built by RME Associates for G. Heileman Brewing Company. The system allegedly failed to work as expected, resulting in a number of disputes between Joseph Oat, RME, and Heileman. Joseph Oat settled its difference with Heileman and dismissed its claims against RME. RME's claims against Joseph Oat remained. The judge ordered the parties to participate in a settlement conference, but Joseph Oat refused to participate in the proceedings, disclaiming any desire to settle. The judge issued a contempt order. Due to financial constraints, Joseph Oat could not settle at any price. Used in the right case in the correct manner, managerial judging can result in a quick, efficient, and just result. Judges must, however, be alert to the limits of their power in the settlement process. A judge should not coerce settlement, either by using overly burdensome pretrial procedures as a bludgeon or by becoming overly involved in the settlement process. 130 footnotes.

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