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Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. v. Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Co.

March 16, 2009

COUNTRYWIDE HOME LOANS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMONWEALTH LAND TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Bissoon

Chief Judge Ambrose

ORDER

Plaintiff filed this case on January 7, 2008. See Compl. (Doc. 1). One day later, the Court issued a Notice advising:

The instant civil action has been designated for placement into the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. The parties are directed to fully complete the required Rule 26(f) report, which includes the stipulation of selecting an ADR process. For further information, parties should refer to Local Rule 16.2 and the Court's ADR Policies and Procedures, which can be accessed at the Court's website at www.pawd.uscourts.gov[.]

See ADR Notice (Doc. 3).

On January 13, 2009, counsel for the parties appeared before the undersigned for a settlement conference. See Min. Entry (Doc. 25). The Court called counsel's attention to the fact that, despite the parties' having been directed to engage in ADR, there was no indication in the record that they had done so. Counsel confirmed that ADR had not been conducted, and the Court established concrete deadlines for the filing of an ADR stipulation and the completion of ADR.

The Court and parties also discussed Defendant's assertion that, although Plaintiff's insurance claim likely fell within the coverage of the policy in question, certain policy exclusions may apply. The Court directed the parties to confer regarding the policy exclusions in an effort to narrow their areas of dispute and/or to determine whether a temporary or final resolution of this case could be reached.

This was the extent of the material discussions at the January 13th Conference, and the Court advised that it would issue an Order memorializing its directions and setting a status conference to discuss the outcome of the parties' efforts.

The same day, the Court issued an Order stating:

Consistent with the discussions at today's Conference:

(1) the parties shall file their ADR stipulation (found at webpage: http://coldfusion.pawd.uscourts.gov/adr/pages/ ADRInfo.cfm) by 1/21/09; (2) the parties shall complete the ADR process by 2/27/09; (3) in the interim, counsel shall confer and determine whether they can reach agreement regarding coverage and/or the applicability of the policy exclusions identified by Defendant, in an effort to narrow their areas of dispute and/or to facilitate a final or temporary amicable resolution of this case; and (4) a telephonic Status Conference is set for 3/17/09 at 2:15 p.m. . . .

Text Order dated Jan. 13, 2009 (emphasis added).

In preparation for the March 17, 2009 Conference, the Court reviewed the docket and found that the ADR Stipulation, ordered by January 21st, had not been filed. On March 12th, Chambers contacted Defense counsel to inquire whether ADR had been conducted, and counsel advised that it had not.

The following day, counsel for the parties telephoned Chambers jointly and represented to the Court that, although they had received the "Minute Entry" (Doc. 25) indicating that an "Order [would] ...


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