Q: What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that provides a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties by a third neutral/impartial party, called a mediator. The mediator works to help the parties reach a mutually satisfactory settlement of their dispute. A mediator does not act to make an award or render a judgment.
Q: What purpose does mediated settlement conferences serve?
The purpose of the court-ordered mediated settlement conferences is to facilitate the settlement of superior court civil actions and to make civil litigation more economical, efficient, and satisfactory to litigants and the State, according the the North Carolina General Statute.
Q: When is mediation required?
In North Carolina, parties to a superior court civil action are required to attend a pretrial, mediated settlement conference if ordered by the judge for any superior court civil action pending.
Q: Who chooses the mediator?
The parties shall have the right to designate a mediator. If this designation does not occur within a certain time, the judge shall appoint a mediator. If you have more questions about the court ordered mediation settlement conference call Graham-Davis & Jordan, PLLC. Attorney Graham-Davis has successfully completed a 40 hour Superior Court Mediation Training course.
Q: What if the parties prefer a different type of dispute resolution method?
In lieu of attending a mediated settlement conference, if the parties consent, they may request to attend and participate in another dispute resolution method. This method has to be authorized by the Supreme Court or the local superior court rules and also ordered by the judge.
Q: Who pays for the mediation?
The set mediator's fees shall be paid in equal shares by the parties.
Q: What happens if a party does not attend a mediated settlement conference?
The party failing to attend would be subject to the contempt powers of the court and monetary sanctions may imposed by the judge. These sanctions may include fines, attorney's fees, mediator fees, and the expenses and loss of earnings incurred by persons attending the procedure.
Q: If no settlement is agreed upon can a mediator testify to matters involving the mediation?
No. The mediator cannot be compelled to testify or produce evidence regarding the mediated settlement conference in any civil proceeding except to attest to the signing of agreements. Other exceptions include disciplinary hearings before the State Bar in proceedings for sanctions and to enforce laws concerning juvenile or elder abuse.