Alternate Dispute Resolution

Charles W. Seymore

281-451-8925

Voluntary Rules for Mediation

  1. Definition of 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 his or her own judgment on the issues for that of the parties.
  2. Agreement of Parties. Whenever the parties have agreed to mediation they shall be deemed to have made these rules, as amended and in effect as of the date of the submission of the dispute, a part of their agreement to mediate.
  3. Consent to Mediator. The parties consent to the appointment of the individual names as mediator in their case. The mediator shall act as an advocate for resolution and shall use his or her best efforts to assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement.
  4. Conditions Precedent to Serving as Mediator. The mediator shall not serve as a mediator in any dispute in which he or she has any financial or personal interest in the result of the mediation. Prior to accepting an appointment, the mediator shall disclose any circumstance likely to create a presumption on the bias or prevent a prompt meeting with the parties. In the event that the parties disagree as to whether the mediator shall serve, the mediator shall not serve.
  5. 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. If necessary, the mediator may also obtain expert advice concerning technical aspects of the dispute, provided that the parties agree and assume the expenses of obtaining such advice. Arrangements for obtaining such advice shall be made by the mediator or the parties, as the mediator shall determine.
  6. Commitment to Participate in Good Faith. While no one is asked to commit to settle a case in advance of mediation, all parties commit to participate in the proceeding in good faith with the intention to settle, if at all possible.
  7. Parties Responsible for Negotiating their own Settlement. The parties understand that the mediator will not and cannot impose a settlement in their case and agree that they are responsible for negotiating a settlement acceptable to them. The mediator, as an advocate for settlement, will use every effort to facilitate the negotiations of the parties. The mediator does not warrant or represent that settlement will result from the mediation process.
  8. Authority of Representatives. Party representatives must have authority to settle; unless otherwise agreed by all parties, the mediator and the Court if a Court has ordered the mediation, all persons necessary to the decision to settle shall be present. The names of such persons shall, upon request, be communicated in writing to all parties and the mediator.
  9. Time and Place of Mediation. The mediator shall fix the time of each mediation session. The mediation shall be held at the office of the mediator, or at any other convenient location agreeable to the mediator and the parties, as the mediator shall determine.
  10. Identification of Matters in Dispute. Prior to the first scheduled mediation session, each party shall, upon the mediator’s request, provide the mediator with information regarding the issues that need to be resolved.
  11. Privacy. Mediation sessions are private. The parties and their representatives may attend mediation sessions. Other persons may attend only with the permission of the parties and with the consent of the mediator.
  12. Confidentiality. Information disclosed in the course of the mediation shall not be divulged. 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 attorneys fees, incurred in opposing the efforts to compel testimony or records for the mediator. The parties shall maintain the confidentiality of the mediation and shall not rely on, or introduce as evidence in any arbitral, judicial or other proceeding:
    1. views expressed or suggestions made by another party with respect to a possible settlement of the dispute;
    2. admissions made by another party in the course of the mediation
      proceedings;
    3. proposals made or views expressed by the mediator; or
    4. the fact that another party had or had not indicated willingness to accept a proposal for settlement
      made by the mediator.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Termination of Mediation. The mediation shall be terminated:
    1. by the execution of a settlement agreement by the parties;
    2. by declaration of the
      mediator to the effect that further efforts at mediation are no longer productive; or
    3. after the completion of one full mediation session, by a written declaration of a party or
      parties to the effect that the mediation proceedings are terminated.
  16. Exclusion of Liability. The mediator is not a necessary or proper party in judicial proceedings relating to the mediation.
  17. Interpretation and Application of Rules. The mediator shall interpret and apply these rules.
  18. Fees and Expenses. The mediator’s fees shall be agreed upon prior to the mediation and shall be paid in advance of each mediation day, unless all parties and the mediator agree otherwise. The expenses of witnesses for either side shall be paid by the party producing such witnesses. All other expenses of the mediation, including fees and expenses of the mediator, and the expenses of any witness and the cost of any proofs or expert advice produced at the direct request of the mediator, shall be borne equally by the parties unless they agree otherwise.