Mediation FAQs

The Clerk's Office is fortunate to have an experienced and dedicated staff. While we encourage you to call us if you have questions, we hope you will first take the time to research your inquiry using the various sections of this web site. To expedite your research this section provides answers to those frequently asked questions about the court and its procedures. We hope you find them helpful and informative.

  • How does the process begin?
    If the parties desire court sponsored mediation, they typically make this election in their Discovery Plan or in a Joint Mediation Statement. If the parties agree that a case should be mediated by a district or magistrate judge, such request should be included in the Discovery Plan or Joint Mediation Statement. If the parties intend that a mediator be selected from the court's mediation panel, within forty-eight hours of requesting mediation, the parties shall conventionally file a list of five possible mediators from the court's approved list in descending order of preference. The court will then issue an order appointing a mediator and will set a date by which the mediation must be held. The mediator will schedule the mediation in consultation with the parties and court personnel.
  • Who selects the mediator?
    If the parties choose court sponsored mediation, the parties may request that a district or magistrate judge serve as mediator, or may select the mediator from the court's panel of mediators. In making a selection from the court's panel, the parties may consider the mediator's background and experience, areas of legal concentration, and fee. A complete list of court approved mediators is available on the court's website. If mediation is court ordered, the mediator is selected by the court. Parties who do not wish to use a member of the court's mediation panel may agree to select a mediator from a private ADR firm or any other source that is mutually agreeable to the parties.
  • What else is required of the parties prior to mediation?
    Five calendar days before the mediation, the parties shall exchange and deliver to the mediator a Mediation Conference Statement. The parties shall also submit a Mediation Conference Statement Confidential Addendum only/directly to the mediator.
  • How long will the mediation last?
    Mediations are usually scheduled for 9 a.m. There is no set limit for how long or short the session will be; it depends on the mediator, the willingness of the parties, and the time needed to reach a resolution or resolve an impasse. However, it is advisable to block off the entire day for the session. Some sessions have lasted as long as fifteen hours.
  • Where are the sessions held?
    Sessions are held either in the Rudman Courthouse or in the mediator's office. Sessions are not held, barring extenuating rare circumstances, in the offices of one of the parties in order to promote neutrality, fairness, and even-handedness.
  • Who bears the cost for the mediation?
    Pursuant to the court's Mediation Guidelines, the court's panel of mediators set their hourly rate for services. Thus, unless appointed by the court to provide pro bono service, the panel mediators are compensated at their published rate, which shall be divided equally between/among the parties.
  • Is the mediation binding on the parties?
    The mediator has no coercive power over the parties. All have different styles: some are more evaluative of the parties' positions, preferring to actively guide the parties to a settlement; others are more passive, serving only as facilitators for joint problem solving and dialogue. But no mediator can force the parties to take a certain position or accept a proposed settlement. However, any agreement reached by the parties during the mediation session must be memorialized in writing before leaving the session. Such agreements are binding on the parties. They are as legally enforceable as any other contract the parties may freely enter in to. In this respect, the mediation is binding.