(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.  Notice of the conference may be included in the pre-hearing conference notice or in a separate written order.  The purpose of a settlement conference is to:

(1)           Explore any grounds upon which a contested case may be resolved without the need for a hearing; and

(2)           Pursue any other matters which will reduce the cost, save time, simplify the issues to be heard, or otherwise aid in the expeditious disposition of the matters to be addressed by the hearing.

(b)  Unless the parties and the 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 Rule .1106 of this Section.

(f)  If, following a settlement conference, a settlement has not been reached but the parties have reached an agreement on any facts or other issues, the hearing officer presiding over the settlement conference shall issue an order confirming and approving, if necessary, those matters agreed upon. The order is binding on the parties and on the hearing officer who is assigned to hear the case and subject to final approval by the State CIO if the hearing officer is not the State CIO.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 147-33.76(b1); 150B-38(h);

Temporary Adoption Eff. January 1, 2000;

Eff. August 1, 2000;

Amended Eff. March 1, 2001;

Recodified from 09 NCAC 06B .1017 Eff. March 19, 2008;

Amended Eff. September 1, 2013;

Pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.3A, rule is necessary without substantive public interest Eff. April 25, 2015.