When I first wrote about the CRASH program last year with its first launching, I thought it would be a more dominant feature of the LA Superior Court.  It seems to be occasional and brief, running one to two weeks at a time, and not at all for several months between sessions.  It is after all a pilot program, and its success will determine its future.  This long delayed second phase and its short new duration makes one wonder whether the pilot will get the go-ahead for a “full season” run. 
The Central District in Downtown Los Angeles is again trying out the single referee assisted settlement hearing, or “CRASH” program.   The 47 member court is giving the settlement program its second run. 

This year the program will run for 5 days. The program is limited to employment law cases, and uses the services of a volunteer plaintiff’s attorney and a volunteer defense attorney acting as mediators for each case. Currently there are about 145 active cases in the program. This number of cases is hardly significant given the 79,125 “general jurisdiction” lawsuits filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in the last 12 months.  Still, the program is getting positive reviews from participating attorneys. 
Judge Rex Hesseman, as quoted in the Los Angeles daily Journal June 4, 2012, said of employment law cases: “I think it’s fair to say they have a disproportionate number of discovery disputes which often need judicial involvement.” Also quoted in the same journal article, Los Angeles Superior Court judge Mary Ann Murphy said employment law cases tend to have more witnesses once the case reaches trial.
Attribution:  Los Angeles Daily Journal, Monday, June 4, 2012, page 5. 

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