Rules for Mediation

Rules for Mediation

Mediation is a process under which an impartial person, the Mediator, facilitates communication between the parties to promote reconciliation, settlement or understanding among them. The Mediator may suggest ways of resolving the dispute, but may not impose her own judgment on the issues for that of the parties.

 


 

Consent to Mediator. The parties consent to the appointment of Denise M. Torres as the Mediator in their case. The Mediator shall act as an advocate for resolution and shall use her best efforts to assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement.

Authority of Mediator. The Mediator does not have the authority to decide any issue for the parties, but will attempt to facilitate the voluntary resolution of the dispute by the parties. The Mediator is authorized to conduct joint and separate meetings with the parties and to offer suggestions to assist the parties achieve settlement. The Mediator is authorized to adjourn or recess the Mediation or declare an impasse.

Disclosures and Conflicts. Ms. Torres will disclose to you all relationships with the parties, their counsel, and any principals, witnesses, experts, consultants, insurers, etc. you identify. If there is any relationship that precludes her from serving in an impartial and neutral manner, she will decline the assignment.

Persons in Attendance. All parties or their representatives must attend in person and be fully capable of making decisions, with the exception of mediations conducted via Zoom. Ms. Torres highly encourages adjusters, if applicable, to attend in person, with the exception of mediations conducted via Zoom.

No Guns or Weapons. Notwithstanding “open carry” and “concealed weapon” laws, no guns or weapons are permitted at the mediation. This is not a comment on the second amendment or an attempted infringement on anyone’s constitutional rights. Rather, it is a matter of self-preservation since everyone gets mad at the mediator at some point.

No Service of Process at or near the site of the Mediation Session. 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.

No Stenographic Record. There shall be no stenographic record of the mediation process and no person shall tape record any portion of the mediation session.

Mediator is Neither Practicing Law nor Representing any Party. The Mediator does not represent any party in the dispute and any suggestions or drafting of initial settlement agreements or memoranda of understanding by the Mediator does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law.

Settlement Agreement. Each participant is advised that if an agreement is reached as a result of this mediation and the Mediator assists in the preparation of a written settlement agreement, then each participant should have the settlement agreement independently reviewed by their own counsel before executing the settlement agreement.

Settlement of Fewer Than all Issues or by Fewer Than all Parties. While the goal of mediation is global resolution, all parties should be aware that a multi-party mediation may involve settlements of fewer than all parties or issues. All parties should be aware that the Mediator may be asked to become involved in “settling around” one or more parties, or in facilitating agreements between multiple parties to the exclusion of others. The parties also should be aware that the Mediator’s obligations of confidentiality may preclude the Mediator from advising a party that such discussions are ongoing.

Mediation Submissions. The e-mail confirming mediation, will outline what is expected in terms of confidential mediation statements and when they are due. Generally speaking what is needed:

  • a summary of your client’s position;
  • your client’s role (i.e., what they did, didn’t do, what they are alleged to have done or not to have done . . . ;
  • amounts owed to your client and/or amounts claimed against your client, any liens, damage models, etc.;
  • any prior settlement negotiations;
  • insurance information for your client, if applicable, including any additional insured issues and reservation or rights / denial letters;
  •  subrogation information
  • contractual indemnity issues;
  • whether there are any dispositive motions or otherwise significant motions on file;
  • a summary of expert reports; and
  • any other issues that I need to know from your perspective that would impact settlement or the mediation process.

In personal injury cases, please do not send all the medical reports. If there is a significant record, just send that record and highlight it. The same for deposition testimony. Ms. Torres often uses video clips during mediation. Only send the clips or highlighted pages not the entire deposition.

Opening Sessions. Generally Ms. Torres is not a big fan of opening presentations. If you feel you must present one, please discuss it with Ms. Torres. In her expertise, opening statements can cause more harm that good.

Confidentiality. Confidential information disclosed to a Mediator by the parties or by witnesses in the course of mediation shall not be divulged by the Mediator. All records, reports, or other documents received by a Mediator while serving in that capacity shall be confidential. The Mediator shall not be compelled to divulge such records or to testify in regard to the mediation in any adversary proceeding or judicial forum. Any party that violates this agreement shall pay all fees and expenses of the Mediator and other parties, including reasonable attorney's fees, incurred in opposing the efforts to compel testimony or records from the Mediator.

Communications. Please feel free to call, write or e-mail with any questions, comments, concerns, etc. prior to the mediation. If there is something important Ms. Torres needs to know about your case, it is better to know before the day of the mediation.

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