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agreement deal

The trial is over and an appeal filed. It appears the window for settlement has closed. It has not. Of course parties remain free to pursue mediation privately, but there is an alternative—parties may participate in the Civil Appeals Settlement Program (CASP), administered by the Appellate Division. This unique appellate program has a settlement rate of over 40%, and a very attractive price tag—it’s free.

Yet, lawyers readily acknowledge they are unfamiliar with CASP. The Judiciary’s website explains the program “is designed to identify, at the initial phase of processing, those appeals which could possibly be settled. Alternatively, appeals with very complex issues may be selected for a pre-argument conference in order to delineate and clarify those issues prior to briefing.” See https://www.njcourts.gov/courts/. The program accommodates cases statewide, with six recall appellate jurists in chambers throughout the state, who consider the settlement possibilities of approximately 1,000 cases each year.

Not every civil appeal is conferenced. Certain case types are excluded, such as matters involving juveniles, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, or domestic violence. Typical Superior Court matters considered for CASP inclusion involve negligence, employment, matrimonial, and contract matters. Additionally, appeals from final agency decisions, such as environmental enforcement actions and workers’ compensation cases are included for review.

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