Mediator Questions

Common Mediator Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a Mediator/Mediation question, but afraid to ask?  Check our FAQs -- you may find your answer here.

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John H. Anderson II

A Mediator you can count on!

Mediation

Mediation, used in law to resolve disputes between two or more parties.

Certificate

State of North Carolina: Dispute Resolution Commission Certification.

Mediation

Mediation: An informal and confidential way to resolve disputes with the help of a neutral Mediator.

Certificate

Duke University, Priate Adjudication Center: Mediation Training

Mediator

A Mediator is trained and qualified to mediate between parties to a dispute.

Certificate

Certificate: Highest Possible Rating in Both Legal Ability Á Ethical Standards

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where are Mediation conferences conducted?
  2. How long does the Mediation conference take?
  3. Who must attend the Mediation conference?
  4. How much does Mediation cost?
  5. What if a party does not want to be in the same room with their adversary?
  6. What must a participant do to prepare for Mediation?
  7. Will I be asked questions at mediation or be required to talk?
  8. What is going to happen at Mediation and what is the Mediation format?
  9. What happens if the parties settle their dispute and reach an agreement at Mediation?
  10. What happens if the parties do not settle their dispute during Mediation?
  11. If settled, will I get my settlement money at Mediation?
  12. When and who pays the mediator's fee for services rendered?
  13. What if one of the parties to the mediated settlement agreement fails to comply with the agreement?

Where are Mediation conferences conducted?

  • A mediation conference usually involves two parties to a dispute who are each represented by an attorney.  Usually the attorneys agree upon conducting the meeting at the office of one of the attorneys and usually at an office that is located in the town or district where the litigation is pending.  Rest assured that if the meeting is not at "your" attorney's office, and you are being requested to go to the office of opposing counsel, that you will be treated respectfully and cordially at the office of the opposing counsel.  Sometimes the meeting is conducted at the mediator's office or facility.  If there are a number of parties involved so that more space is needed than is available at the office of one of the attorneys, or if the attorneys cannot agree on a location, then sometimes the mediation is conducted at the courthouse where the litigation is pending.  Where the meeting takes place has no effect on the mediation protocol or results.
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How long does the Mediation conference take?

  • Mediations usually last no more than three hours or about half a day.  They typically are conducted in the morning or the afternoon and start between 9-10 am or 1-2 pm.  The time for the mediation conference can usually be set to fit the schedules of the parties and attorneys.  Some disputes involve numerous parties, or complex litigation issues, and those mediations may last all day or even take place over several consecutive days.  It is important that you not assume that the mediation will last only three hours, and that you have your schedule "covered" so that you can stay at the mediation all day or even into the evening if the mediation should take longer than expected.
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Who must attend the Mediation conference?

  • All interested parties to a dispute or lawsuit, and their attorneys, MUST attend the mediation from beginning to end, or until released by the mediator.  If the liability of any of the parties may be covered by an insurance policy, then an insurance company representative with authority to settle the claim must also attend the mediation.  Any other person or entity that has a financial interest in the dispute, such as a medical lien, mechanics lien, worker's compensation lien, subrogation lien, etc. should also be at the mediation.  Often agreements are made between the attorneys who represent the litigants to vary the normal rules as to who MUST attend; and they agree to either excuse an individual altogether from attending the mediation, or allow the individual to attend by video or phone conferencing rather than in person.  Friends and family members, who are not parties to the lawsuit, can often attend if opposing counsel does not object; otherwise, they cannot attend the general session meeting.  Any agreements between the attorneys involved in the litigation are required to be, and usually are, consented to by the mediator; but the mediator should be advised well in advance of the mediation that special agreements have been entered into.
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How much does Mediation cost?

  • The fee schedule is attached.  There is an administrative set up and scheduling fee (usually $150.00) and there is a per hour fee for the time actually spent at the mediation conference (usually $150.00 per hour).  The total fee is then paid equally by the number of "parties" to the litigation.  The "number of parties" means the number of parties with different interest and/or different insurance carriers.  If there is only one plaintiff and one defendant, then the total fee is split 50/50 between the parties.  If the dispute is resolved at mediation, the settlement agreement may contain a provision as to who shall pay what portion of the mediation fee.
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What if a party does not want to be in the same room with their adversary?

  • There is no reason to worry about being in the same room with your adversary.  All parties, their attorneys, others with an interest in the dispute, and the mediator usually start out in the same room for a general session and discussion.  The attorneys and the mediator keep the proceedings respectful and courteous, so there is no reason to worry about being in the same room together.  If for any reason the proceedings are not respectful and courteous, then the mediator will take immediate action to resolve the issue and to separate the parties into different rooms.  On occasion, the normal format of an opening general session in a single room is altered so that the separate caucus meetings take place without an opening general session.  If a participant has a concern about being in the same room with their adversary, then it should be discussed with their attorney well before the mediation date; and the attorney, or pro se party not represented by an attorney, should discuss this with the mediator well before the mediation date.  It is rare that a party is allowed to be excused from attending the opening general session meeting.
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What must a participant do to prepare for Mediation?

  • If you are represented by an attorney then usually "nothing," unless your attorney advises you otherwise.  Pro se parties representing themselves, and attorneys representing parties, are expected to be well prepared and have multiple copies of any documents they intend to use at mediation so as to deliver a well organized presentation of the facts to support, or oppose, the validity of the claim itself; and to further present all documentation necessary to support, or oppose, the value of the claim.  Additionally, ALL parties should have discussed with their attorneys the minimum and maximum value they are willing to accept and/or pay to settle the claim based on heir analysis of the claim; BUT keep an open mind as to some other value as facts are disclosed and discussed during the mediation conference.
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Will I be asked questions at Mediation or be required to talk?

  • If you are represented by an attorney the answer is usually NO.  Your attorney will discuss with you before the mediation whether he/she only will present your case or side of the dispute, or whether they want you to speak to make statements during the mediation process.  If you wish to make statements during the opening general session then you should discuss this with your attorney beforehand.
  • If you are not represented by an attorney and you are a pro se party to the litigation, then you will need to be prepared to make statements and answer questions in order to present your case as discussed under "What must a participant do to prepare for Mediation" noted above.
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What is going to happen at Mediation and what is the Mediation format?

  • The mediation conference is an informal meeting to try and resolve a dispute between two adverse parties.  There is no required format or agenda for conducting mediation and the format is usually worked out through discussions between the attorneys and the mediator.
  • The normal format is to have an opening general session attended by all participants, at which the mediator will provide some required opening remarks.  The Plaintiff will make a presentation of the case, followed by the Defendant's presentation of any defense contentions and arguments.
  • At the conclusion of the opening general session, the parties and their attorneys will move into separate breakout caucus rooms and the mediator will visit the respective parties one at a time to have an individual discussion regarding the merits of their case.  During the breakout meetings, the mediator will convey any settlement demands and offers (usually dollar amounts) being made by the parties to try and settle the dispute.
  • Hopefully, if the parties really want to settle the dispute, then they will be able to seek and obtain a reasoned settlement amount and agreement.
  • If an agreement is reached, the basics are reduced to writing and signed by all attorneys, parties and insurance carriers present.
  • If an agreement cannot be reached, the mediator will declare an impasse and the mediation conference is over.  The parties will thereafter continue forward with litigation; and will proceed further with discovery and trial, so that a judge or jury may resolve their dispute for them, regardless of whether the parties agree with the jury assessment of their claim or not.
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What happens if the parties settle their dispute and reach an agreement at Mediation?

  • If an agreement is reached, the basics are reduced to writing and signed by all attorneys, parties and insurance carriers present.  After mediation, the attorneys and/or parties will prepare the final close out documents usually involving a transfer of funds, a formal release signed by the claimant and a voluntary dismissal with prejudice that ends the litigation
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What happens if the parties do not settle their dispute during Mediation?

  • If an agreement cannot be reached during mediation, the mediator will declare an impasse and the mediation conference is over.  The parties will thereafter continue forward with litigation; and will proceed further with discovery and trial, so that a judge or jury may resolve their dispute for them, regardless of whether the parties agree with the jury assessment of the claim or not.  Most people think that if they don't like the jury's verdict they can appeal and get a new trial, but such is rarely the case.  Almost always the jury verdict is final.
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If settled, will I get my settlement money at Mediation?

  • If your claim is settled at mediation for a sum certain, it is rare (but not impossible) that a settlement check is paid to the claimant at mediation.  Normally, after mediation the attorneys and/or parties will prepare the final settlement documents to memorialize the transfer of funds, a formal release signed by the claimant and a voluntary dismissal with prejudice that ends the litigation.
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When and who pays the Mediator's fee for services rendered?

  • When:  the mediation fees for services rendered are due and payable at the conclusion of the mediation conference.  Each party should be prepared to pay their share by check or cash at the conclusion of the mediation.  Often when a party is represented by an attorney, the attorney guarantees payment of his client's share of the fee and the attorney will pay when he or she returns to their office and within 10 days.  Insurance carriers usually pay within 10 days of receipt of invoice.  Individual parties who are not represented by counsel or whose counsel is not guaranteeing payment are expected to pay by check or cash at the conclusion of the mediation conference.
  • Who:  The total fees owed are usually paid equally by the number of "parties" to the litigation.  The "number of parties" means the number of parties with different interests and/or different insurance carriers.  If there is only one plaintiff and one defendant then the total fee is split 50/50 with each paying 50% of the mediator's fee.  If the dispute is settled at mediation, then the settlement agreement may also contain a provision as to who shall pay what portion of the mediation fee.
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What if one of the parties to the mediated settlement agreement fails to comply with the agreement?

  • All mediated settlement agreements require that the basics be reduced to writing and signed by all attorneys, parties and insurance carriers present at the mediation before they leave the mediation conference.  If a party fails to comply with their obligations under the settlement, then the complying party (or their attorney) can petition the court to enforce compliance with the agreement by having the judge enter judgment against the non complying party pursuant to the signed mediation agreement.
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John H. Anderson II -- Mediator --

109 Broadfoot Ave., Fayetteville, NC, 28305

Cell Phone: (910) 624-5280 | Email: John@AndersonMediator.com

Time is of the Essence - Schedule Your Mediation Today

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