Mediation is the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program in this Court. Mediation is governed by Local Civil Rule 301.1. The mediation program under this rule is supervised by a judicial officer (currently United States Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre) who is available to answer any questions about the program.
Any district judge or magistrate judge may refer a civil action to mediation. This may be done without the consent of the parties. However, the Court encourages parties to confer among themselves and consent to mediation. Moreover, you are reminded that, when counsel confer pursuant to Rule 26(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Civil Rule 26.1, one of the topics that must be addressed is the eligibility of a civil action for participation in ADR.
A civil action may be referred to mediation at any time. However, one of the advantages of mediation is that, if successful, it enables parties to avoid the time and expense of discovery and trial. Accordingly, the Court encourages parties to consent to mediation prior to or at the time that automatic disclosures are made pursuant to Rule 26(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
If parties consent to mediation, they may choose a mediator either from the list of certified mediators maintained by the Court or by the selection of a private mediator. If a civil action is referred to mediation without consent of the parties, the judicial officer responsible for supervision of the program will select the mediator.
Mediation is non-judgmental. The role of the mediator is to assist the parties in reaching a resolution of their dispute. The parties may confer with the mediator on an ex parte basis. Anything said to the mediator will be deemed to be confidential and will not be revealed to another party or to others without the party's consent. The mediator's hourly rate is $300.00, which is borne equally by the parties.
If you would like further information with regard to the mediation program please review the Guidelines for Mediation, Appendix Q to the Local Civil Rules. You may also make inquiries of the judicial officer responsible for supervision of the program.
Civil actions in which there are pro se parties (incarcerated or not) are not eligible for mediation.