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Frie, Arndt & Danborn Blog

Alternative Dispute Resolution #7 – Early Nuetral Evaluation

by Frie, Arndt & Danborn

Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques – Early Neutral Evaluation

Early Neutral Evaluation is a process whereby

  • an evaluator is appointed by the court or chosen by the parties
  • to intervene in a lawsuit for the purpose of narrowing the issues, assisting in case planning and management andCartoon Couple angry at each other
  • assisting in settlement, if appropriate.

Early Neutral Evaluation (“ENE”) is a non-binding, confidential evaluation process conducted early in a lawsuit by a neutral evaluator. The evaluator is typically a senior attorney recognized as an experienced litigator and/or knowledgeable in the applicable area of substantive law The primary purpose of ENE is to obtain case control and management. This may be accomplished by developing a discovery plan, narrowing issues or eliminating unnecessary parties. A secondary purpose of ENE is to assist with case settlement.

The evaluation session is typically held within 60 days after the case is at issue, or even sooner. Both sides may give the evaluator a written, pre-session statement of their case. At the ENE session, the parties make short and informal case presentations. The evaluator may question the parties and their attorneys to clarify and develop issues. The evaluator then facilitates a discussion that identifies areas of common ground and agreement. This is designed to produce stipulations to be filed with the court which will simplify and streamline the case.

After the discussion, the evaluator prepares a written evaluation which may be the functional equivalent of a judgment or may state what is needed before a judgement can be rendered. Before the written evaluation is presented, the evaluator may conduct settlement negotiations with the parties. If settlement is not achieved, the evaluator presents his/her written evaluation. The evaluator may then conduct another round of settlement negotiations. Multiple sessions with the evaluator may be held on a voluntary basis.

ENE is used primarily for large, complex cases that can benefit from focused case management.

Our firm attempts to utilize Alternative Dispute Resolution in each case in which it would benefit the client.  Please give our office a call so we may assist you with your legal problems.


This is an excerpt from an article published by the Colorado Bar Association, 2002. https://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/211/subID/1244/CAAD/Manual-on-Alternative-Dispute-Resolution/