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Frequently Asked Questions
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01. How is a case referred to mediation?
Judges and Magistrate Judges may designate civil cases for inclusion in the mediation program, and shall issue an order to that effect. Alternatively, parties may request to participate in the mediation program by preparing and executing stipulation signed by all parties.
01. What is mediation?
Mediation is a confidential process where a neutral third party, called a mediator, assists you and the other party to try to reach a voluntary, negotiated resolution of your lawsuit.
01. Why was my case ordered to arbitration?
The EDNY designates compulsory arbitration for civil cases where money damages being sought do not exceed $150,000.00 exclusive of interest and costs (excluding Social Security cases, tax matters, prisoners' Civil Rights cases and any action based on an alleged violation of a right secured by the Constitution of the United States or if jurisdiction is based in whole or in part on Title 28 U.S.C. S 1343).
02. Can a party request that their case be exempt for arbitration?
Yes. The court may, sua sponte, or on motion of a party, exempt any case from arbitration in which the objectives of arbitration would not be realized:
- because the case involves complex or novel issues;
- because legal issues predominate over factual issues; or
- for other good cause.
The proper format and procedure to seek exemption from arbitration for the above-listed reasons, can be found under Local Rule 83.7 (e) (2).
02. How do I select a mediator?
02. Is my case eligible for mediation through this program?
You must be a self-represented plaintiff in an employment discrimination matter or a matter arising under Section 1983.
The following types of cases are eligible for pro bono representation in mediation:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as codified, 42 U.S.C. §§2000e to 2000e-17 (discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion and national origin)
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as codified, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-34 (discrimination based on age)
- Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as codified, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1242-17 (discrimination based on disability or perceived disability)
- First Amendment (violations of free speech, freedom of association and religion, access to the courts)
- Fourth Amendment (false arrest, excessive force, unreasonable searches and seizures)
- Eighth Amendment (prisoner excessive force, conditions of confinement)
- Fourteenth Amendment (lack of due process or equal protection)
03. How do I select an arbitrator?
Counsel can review the list of EDNY arbitrators on the EDNY website and notify the Arbitration Clerk of their selection.
03. What if counsel are unable to agree on a mediator?The ADR Administrator will assist parties with mediator selection when necessary. Contact the ADR Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance.
03. Why should I try mediation?Mediators assist in improving communication across party lines, identify areas of agreement, and help parties to generate a mutually acceptable resolution to the dispute. Mediation provides an opportunity to explore a wide range of potential solutions and to address interests that may be outside the scope of the lawsuit or which could not be addressed by a judge.Mediation can save time, and may allow the parties to avoid lengthy discovery, motions, and trial in order to reach a resolution. Mediation can also provide you with the opportunity to meet with an attorney. The attorney can discuss the issues in the case and help you explore settlement.
04. Do I need to submit a brief for the purposes of mediation?
Yes, fourteen days prior to the mediation session date, counsel must file with the Mediator their client's mediation statement summarizing the facts, legal issues, particulars of any prior settlement discussions, and the name and title of the client or client representative with full settlement authority who will attend the mediation in person.
04. If I mediate my case, will I be giving up any rights?
No. In the Eastern District, both parties must agree to mediation and the Judge must refer a pro se case to be mediated through the EDNY Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. You are under no obligation to settle your case through mediation, and if your case does not settle, you will continue your case before a judge.
04. Is it possible to request a panel of arbitrators?
The arbitration shall be held before one arbitrator unless a panel of three arbitrators is requested by a party. If the amount in controversy is $5,000 or less, the arbitration shall be held before a single arbitrator.
05. How much does mediation cost?
Mediation is free of charge for cases referred to the Mediation Advocacy Program.
05. Is the Mediation Binding on the Parties?
Although the parties are not bound to settle through the process of mediation–no mediator can force the parties to take a certain position or accept a proposed settlement–, the parties will be bound by any agreement they reach. These agreements must be memorialized in writing before leaving the session.
05. When must the arbitration hearing take place?
The arbitration hearing must take place no later than 120 days from the date the answer was filed, and counsel will have a 90 day period to complete discovery.