Unlike arbitration where the parties to a lawsuit introduce evidence and testimony before a designated arbitrator, who then acts as judge and issues a decision, “mediation” is a process in which an experienced and professional attorney works with each party (and their attorney) in an effort to bring about an agreed resolution of all issues. The mediator does not issue decisions or orders but will provide assistance to you and your counsel in evaluating your case, the opponent’s case and what might be expected from the trial judge if the parties are unable to agree.
Is Mediation “Final”?
If the parties come to an agreement, the mediator (with the assistance of the attorneys) most often prepares a ‘binding’ Settlement Agreement (often referred to as a CR 2(A) agreement) that is final and binding on all parties. Such an agreement is enforceable in court but when signed by all parties and their attorneys, allows the parties to leave mediation with confidence that the matter is completely resolved. In some instances, the parties can agree to settle some of the issues, leaving others for resolution at trial. This will often shorten the time needed for trial (and reduce legal expense to the parties). The starting goal of our mediators, however, is to make every effort to resolve all issues if possible.
How does it work?
Most often, the party and their attorney are in one conference room or office and the other party and their attorney are in a different room. The mediator works back and forth between the parties and works toward resolution of all issues.
MORE MEDIATION FAQs
Get answers to more frequently asked questions here.
Settlement negotiations, offers of settlement and related information exchanged during a settlement conference or mediation are “confidential” and cannot be introduced in court at a later time (with a few rare or limited exceptions).
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