About The Civil Appeals Management Program
The Civil Appeals Management Program, known by its acronym CAMP, was initiated by the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, in 1974 (see, 22 NYCRR §670.4[b]). Its mission was, and still is, to settle appeals taken to that Court, which is one of the busiest appellate courts in the country, and thereby benefit both the Court and the litigants who appear before it, by lightening to some degree its heavy calendars. CAMP is one of the oldest settlement programs in the country.
The selection process
The decision to select an appeal for a settlement conference is based upon a review of the documents filed when the appeal is taken - the notice of appeal, Request for Appellate Division Intervention (RADI), the order or judgment from which the appeal is taken, and the decision upon which that order or judgment is based, if any. Those documents are reviewed by the CAMP Administrator, who generally selects cases which, based upon experience, may lend themselves to disposition through negotiation. In considering whether a case is amenable to CAMP treatment the CAMP administrator’s review takes into consideration both the likelihood of resolving, or at least limiting, the issue or issues to be raised on appeal, and the possibility of negotiating a final resolution of the pending litigation. Although the determination as to whether to schedule an appeal for a CAMP conference is made, in the first instance, by the CAMP Administrator, any litigant who believes that CAMP may be of assistance in settling the issues raised on appeal or the entire litigation may write to the CAMP administrator to request a conference. The determination regarding whether to grant that request is within the discretion of the administrator.
The CAMP conference notice
After the CAMP Administrator selects a case to be conferenced, a notice scheduling a conference before a Special Referee is sent to the attorneys for all of the parties involved in the action. The notice directs the appearance of (1) the attorneys in charge of the case who possess full authority to settle, and (2) the litigants themselves, including agents and representatives from insurers and/or corporations, who possess complete knowledge of the facts and full authority to settle. The appearance by, for example, an associate who has merely been given instructions by the attorney in charge is insufficient to comply with the CAMP notice, and may result in the imposition of sanctions. Additionally, the conference notice is not limited to parties to the appeal. All of the attorneys appearing in the action and their clients must appear, since the possibility of settling the entire case will be explored by the Special Referee who presides over the conference. The initial conference will generally be scheduled one to three months after a matter is selected by the CAMP Administrator. Appellants would do well to consider refraining from perfecting their appeals until after a scheduled CAMP conference is held, since one of the inducements in settling the case is saving the cost of preparing and printing the record and brief. Please contact the CAMP offices to see whether an appeal has been selected for participation in the program.
Requests to adjourn a CAMP conference
The scheduling of and preparation for a CAMP conference requires great effort and coordination on the part of CAMP clerks and the Special Referees, who prepare in advance of the conference date. Therefore, adjournments or cancellations are within the discretion of the Special Referee before whom the conference is scheduled, and are rarely granted.
The settlement conference
The parties should arrive promptly for their conference, with their clients and the authority to settle, as required under the terms of the CAMP notice. They will be met by the Special Referee who is familiar with the issues and possesses the skills necessary to facilitate meaningful negotiation. The Court is very fortunate to have a group of dedicated, hard-working former Appellate Division justices who serve as Special Referees. They essentially provide the parties an opportunity to mediate their dispute, without incurring the cost of private mediation. In order to take full advantage of this opportunity, the attorneys who attend the conference must not only be realistic in their expectations, but they must also be prepared to engage in open and frank discussions regarding the merits of the appeal and the action or proceeding in which the appeal arises. The Special Referee will speak with the attorneys first, and then, if necessary, with their clients. If the issues discussed are particularly complex, one or more additional conferences may be scheduled. Settlement conferences are not transcribed and are confidential in nature. Nothing discussed during the conference is shared with the Appellate Division justices or their staff, or recorded in the Appellate Division’s database, with the exception of whether or not a settlement was reached.
The successful CAMP conference – Withdrawing the appeal
Upon settlement of an appeal or action or proceeding through the aegis of CAMP, the appellant must submit to the offices of that program, and the Appellate Division’s Clerk’s Office, a letter withdrawing the appeal. If the appeal has already been briefed, the withdrawal should take the form of a stipulation. Whether by letter or stipulation, the submission to the Court must indicate that it was sent to all of the parties to the appeal. When the appropriate documents are submitted, the Court will issue an order withdrawing the appeal.