Like most courts, the vast majority of cases in the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims settle. We, of course, view this favorably, as research generally suggests settling is better than going to trial.
Nonetheless, we have noticed a small hiccup in our settlement approval process, and we respectfully ask for your help to cure it.
Here’s what happens: The mediator files a dispute certification notice, and the case gets assigned to a judge. Later, a judge other than the assigned judge approves a settlement of the case. Meanwhile, the assigned judge doesn’t know the case settled. The case continues to occupy space on the judge’s calendar, when another case could be scheduled for that time slot.
When the settlement is processed by the Bureau, the settlement entry does not appear on the judge’s computer. In essence, we use two different computer systems that don’t “talk” to each other. Our much anticipated “TNComp” system will resolve this problem (more on that in a later post). Until then, you can help by doing one of two simple things:
1) Request that the assigned judge approve the settlement. If you’ve already had a hearing on the merits, he or she will be familiar with the case and it should be easier and faster to make a determination on best interests. Afterward, the judge can remove the case from the docket and cancel any upcoming proceedings.
2) Inform the approving judge that a dispute certification notice was issued before the requested approval.
Remember, this only causes a problem in cases where a dispute certification notice is issued.
Thanks in advance for your anticipated cooperation.
|Drink water while covering your ears. It works.|