Order on Referral of Cases
The program offers a confidential forum in which counsel can discuss their cases with both opposing counsel and the court’s mediators. Discussions are “off the record” and are without prejudice to the parties. Communications with a circuit mediator are kept in strict confidence and are not divulged to the judges, court personnel or anyone else. The office currently is staffed by two attorney-mediators who conduct telephone and in-person conferences with counsel. These conferences are intended primarily to explore the possibilities of settlement, and secondarily to resolve procedural problems. Follow-up conferences directed toward settlement can include the parties themselves as well as counsel. The circuit mediation program is limited to civil cases in which all parties are represented by counsel. Conferences are not scheduled in criminal, pro se, or habeas corpus appeals. Most of the cases in the mediation program are selected by the chief circuit mediator after the initial jurisdictional review process. In addition, either party can request that a case be assigned to the program at any time. The court itself occasionally refers specific cases to the program, even after oral argument.
The Circuit Mediation Office can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.