Frequently Asked Questions
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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.
When are Mediation sessions usually held?
Mediations are usually scheduled for 10:00 am, and can be held in any mutually agreed upon location, although, to promote neutrality, meeting in one of the Eastern District courthouses or the mediator’s office is preferable to meeting in a party’s or party’s counsel’s office. The length of the mediation depends on the mediator, the parties, and the complexity of the case. Although the average time for a mediation session is between five and six hours, some last as long as fifteen hours, so it is advisable to schedule an entire day for the process.
At the mediation session, all participants will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement as required by Local Civil Rule 83.11.
What is Court-Annexed Arbitration?
Court-Annexed Arbitration is an alternate way to resolve civil cases that have a demand for damages of $150,000 or less, without going to trial. When an action is commenced in the Eastern District, there is a Civil Cover Sheet (JS 44) that is submitted with the Complaint before a docket number is assigned. On the back of the Civil Cover Sheet, there is an Arbitration Certification that is only filled out by the party filing the complaint, if the damages exceed the $150,000 cap, exclusive of interest and costs. If this certification is not filled out, the case may be eligible for arbitration, subject to review by the Arbitration Clerk.
What is the process for selecting a Mediator?
Parties may choose to either use a mediator from the court’s panel of over 200 mediators or a private mediator. All EDNY panelists have been members of a state bar for 5 years or more, have been trained in mediation, and have been interviewed and screened by the court. Effective 7/7/2009, EDNY mediators in the program are compensated in accordance with EDNY Local Rule 83.11(f)(1). A list of EDNY panel members can be found at www.nyed.uscourts.gov/adr. Parties may also seek the services of a neutral ADR organization, an ADR firm, or a private mediator. Compensation of mediators not in the program is determined by agreement among the counsel and the mediator.