(c) Mediation

(1) Discovery Plan

The parties shall confer regarding the suitability of their case for mediation and, if applicable, include in their discovery plan (see Civil Form 2, Discovery Plan) the date by which mediation shall occur.  

(2) Joint Mediation Statement

 At any time following the submission of the discovery plan, the parties may request the court refer a case for mediation with a mediator from the court’s approved panel of mediators or any district or magistrate judge by filing a Joint Mediation Statement, setting forth the date by which they request mediation occur.

(3) Court Ordered Mediation

The court at any time may refer a case to mediation.

(4) Designation of Mediator

If the parties agree that a case should be mediated by a district or magistrate judge, such request should be made in the Discovery Plan or the Joint Mediation Statement.  If the parties intend that a mediator be selected from the court’s mediation panel, within forty-eight (48) hours of requesting a case be referred for mediation, the parties shall provide the court with a joint list of five (5) possible mediators from the panel in descending order of preference from which the court will designate the mediator. 

(5) Mediation Process

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, mediation requested through the court shall be conducted in accordance with the court's Guidelines for Mediation Program.

(6) Private Mediation

Nothing in this rule precludes parties from engaging a mediator or other neutral outside the court’s Mediation Program to facilitate resolution of a case.