Mediation is a process where disputing parties work with a neutral third-party (the mediator) to come to a mutual resolution and settlement of their case. By settling in mediation, the parties can avoid court orders that may be imposed which can be unfavorable or undesirable to one or more of them. Mediation allows the parties to design their own solutions and may even preserve their ability to work together in the future as co-parents, business associates or simply good neighbors.
A mediator is a certified professional who facilitates communication and negotiations between disputing parties so that they may settle their differences. A mediator is neutral, doesn't take sides or offer advice, remains impartial throughout the session and maintains the confidentiality of both the parties and the session. A mediator cannot be later called as a witness, cannot be subpoenaed, and cannot be held liable.
Sessions can last anywhere from half-day (4 hours), to full-day (8 hours) or may even require more than one session depending on the complexity of the matters in dispute.
Whenever the parties have agreed to mediation, they shall be deemed to have made these rules, as amended and in effect as of the date of the submission of the dispute, a part of their Agreement to Mediate.
The parties consent to the appointment of the Wendi Dodson as the mediator in their case. The mediator shall act as an advocate for resolution and shall use her best efforts to assist the entities in reaching a amicable resolution of their dispute.
The mediator shall not mediate any dispute for which she has any personal or financial stake in the outcome. Prior to accepting an appointment, the mediator shall disclose any circumstances which might create a presumption of bias or conflict of interest that could have a bearing on the parties or their resolution of the matters at issue.
Authority of Mediator
The mediator has no authority to decide any matters at issue, will not make any determinations, and cannot impose her judgment on the matter. However, she will attempt to facilitate the voluntary resolution of the dispute between the parties. The mediator is authorized to conduct joint and separate meetings with the parties and to offer suggestions to achieve settlement. Where necessary, the mediator may also obtain expert advice concerning technical aspects of the dispute, provided that the parties agree in writing and assume the expenses of obtaining such advice. Arrangements for obtaining such advice shall be made by the mediator or the parties, as the mediator shall determine.
The parties understand that the mediator will not and cannot impose a settlement in their case. The mediator, as an advocate for settlement, will use every effort to facilitate the negotiations of the parties. The mediator does not warrant or represent that settlement will result from the mediation process.
Party representatives must have authority to settle and all persons necessary to the decision to settle shall be present. The names and addresses of such persons shall be communicated in writing to all parties and the mediator.
The mediator shall approve and schedule the time and place of each mediation session. The mediation shall be held at the office of the mediator or at any other convenient location agreeable to the mediator and the parties, as the mediator shall determine.
Prior to the first scheduled mediation session, each party shall provide the mediator and attorneys of record with an information sheet and request for mediation on the form provided by the mediator setting forth the parties' positions with regard to the issues that need to be resolved.
At or before the first session, the parties will be expected to produce all information reasonably required for the mediator to understand the issues presented. The mediator may require any party to supplement information.
Mediation sessions are private. The parties, their respective spouses, and the parties' attorneys may attend mediation sessions. NO OTHER PERSONS MAY ATTEND WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION.
Confidential information disclosed to a mediator by the parties or by their attorneys during the mediation concerning the matters being mediated shall not be divulged by the mediator. All records, reports, or other documents received or prepared by the mediator while serving as mediator shall be confidential. The mediator shall not and cannot be compelled to release or produce such records or to testify in any adversary proceeding or judicial forum. Any party that attempts to violates this provision shall pay any and all reasonable fees and expenses of the mediator and other parties, including reasonable fees, incurred in opposing the efforts to compel testimony or records from the mediator.
The parties shall maintain the confidentiality of the mediation and shall not rely on, or introduce as evidence in any arbitral, judicial or other proceeding: a) views expressed or suggestions made by the mediator or another party with respect to a possible resolution of the disputed matters; b) admissions made by the mediator or another party that did or did not indicate a willingness of either party to accept a proposal for settlement made by any party or the mediator.
There shall be no record made of the mediation process and no person shall tape, video, electronically, telephonically or otherwise record any portion of the mediation.
No subpoenas, summons, complaints, citations, writs or other process may be served upon any person at or near the site of any mediation session upon any person entering, attending or leaving the session.
The mediation session shall be terminated: a) by the execution of an irrevocable Mediated Settlement Agreement between the parties which disposes of all matters in dispute; b) by the calling of an impasse by the declaration of the mediator that the session was completed, no settlement was reached and further efforts at mediation would not be productive; or c) by a consent to reset mediation made between all parties and the mediator through the scheduling of a follow-up session on another date and time.
The Mediator is NOT a necessary or proper entity in judicial proceedings relating to the mediation. Neither Mediator nor any law firm employing Mediator shall be liable to any entity for any act or omission in connection with any mediation conducted under these rules.