HURRICANE IKE UPDATE: MONTGOMERY COUNTY PRESIDING IKE JUDGE ORDERS MASS MEDIATIONS TO COMMENCE IN ALL HURRICANE IKE CASES PENDING IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Montgomery County District Court Judge Fred Edwards held a status conference last Friday December 9th for all counsel handing Hurricane Ike cases pending in Montgomery County. Judge Edwards announced that all remaining Ike cases in Montgomery County must be mediated starting in January. The court- appointed mediator has the discretion to schedule mediations based around individual firms and the mediator commented that he wants to group them to do 3 to 5 mediation per day per carrier with common counsel. In other words, if carrier A has 15 Ike cases with one plaintiff’s firm, the mediator wants to mediate all 15 of those with the same plaintiff lawyer across three days. The chief mediator has appointed co-mediators so that multiple mediations can occur simultaneously in January. Judge Edwards ruled on Friday that even cases which have been previously mediated still have to be mediated again in January. All cases not settling during January’s mediations will allegedly be set for trial on a 90-day “rocket docket” commencing in April.