Voluntary Dispute Resolution Program


Pursuant to the findings and directives of Congress in 28 U.S.C. §§ 651 et seq., and in recognition of the economic burdens and delay in the resolution of disputes that can be imposed by full formal litigation, Local Rule 271 governs the referral of certain actions to the Voluntary Dispute Resolution Program ("VDRP") at the election of parties.

It is the Court’s intention that the VDRP shall allow the participants to take advantage of a wide variety of alternative dispute resolution methods. These methods may include, but are not limited to, mediation, negotiation, early neutral evaluation and settlement facilitation. The specific method or methods employed will be determined by the Neutral and the parties.

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that pursuant to Local Rule 271, this Local Rule applies to all civil actions pending before any District Judge or Magistrate Judge in this District except that actions in the following categories are exempt from presumptive inclusion:

  • prisoner petitions and actions, including habeas corpus petitions
  • actions in which one of the parties is appearing pro se
  • voting rights actions
  • social security actions
  • deportation actions
  • Freedom of Information Act actions
  • actions involving the constitutionality of federal, state or local statutes or ordinances.


The fact that a case falls in a category that is exempt from presumptive applicability of this Local Rule neither (1) precludes the parties to such a case from agreeing to participate in an Alternative Dispute Resolution ("ADR") process, nor (2) deprives the Court of authority to compel participation in an appropriate ADR proceeding.

Parties may elect Voluntary Dispute Resolution with the Court by filing a stipulation indicating that all parties to the action agree to submit the action to VDRP pursuant to Local Rule 16-271. Actions may not be assigned to VDRP over the objection of a party. (Copy of sample stipulation attached hereto and notice of availability of VDRP.)


VDRP Neutral List

The Court’s VDRP Neutral List is not publicly available.  Parties will be provided with a random selection of three names of neutrals from the list once a case has been referred to the program.

If you are interested in becoming a neutral attorney mediator for the Court’s VDRP or have any questions about the process, please contact the ADR and Pro Bono Program Director.


For information regarding VDRP in Sacramento and Fresno, please contact:

Sujean Park
ADR and Pro Bono Program Director
United States District Court - Eastern District of California
501 I Street, Suite 4-200
Sacramento, CA 95814
Ph: (916) 930-4278
E-mail: SPark@caed.uscourts.gov