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What to Expect in the Mediation Process with James E. Morris

A mediator does not impose a result, but brokers a decision. - James E. Morris

A suggestion to mediate can come from any participant involved in a dispute, but mediation frequently is encouraged by an attorney or the parties that will pay any future settlement. A mediation can occur prior to litigation or during litigation. Mediation is a “time out” from all other proceedings.

Timing is important. The parties have to be willing to talk. Sometimes a willingness to talk occurs just prior to a trial, motion, or appeal in a case or when a party in the dispute wishes to move from the area.

Mediations can include issues that are not part of actual litigation, but which the parties want to put on the table. The entire process is confidential.

If you are interested in pursuing a mediation, look for an available date on the calendar on this website. Together you can check mutual calendars and determine a location for the mediation session. You should then email James E. Morris with the following information: Case Name, Attorney, Contact Information, Date, Time, and Meeting Place. You will then receive a confirmation. Morris often holds sessions in his office but travels frequently to other areas to mediate disputes.

Initial Steps

  • At least one week prior to mediation, the parties submit brief memos of their positions in the case, including any settlement discussion summaries to date.
  • If there is a need for a pre-mediation conference, it is held via phone prior to the mediation.
  • On the day of mediation, usually all parties involved in the claim and their attorneys are requested to be present. Any person(s) with the authority to pay dollars, whether insurance adjuster or corporate officer or other individual, is requested to be present. This signals a real willingness to reach a resolution.
  • The session begins with a general meeting of all parties discussing the issues face-to-face, with the mediator facilitating the discussion, and conferencing with various parties as needed.

Each Mediation Takes Its Own Path

The mediation involves whatever time is necessary to resolve issues, without rushing discussions. The conversations continue until the mediator brings the parties to a resolution. Other sessions or follow-up phone calls involving the mediator may be involved. “I keep after people by phone to schedule subsequent sessions. I just do not give up.” At the end of mediation, a memo of mediation is executed by the attorneys and parties. It cannot be used in any future legal proceedings, for or against any of the parties involved. (In some cases not all issues may be resolved in mediation.)

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