Mediation is an informal and confidential process in which a neutral third party (mediator) facilitates settlement discussions between parties. Any settlement is voluntary, and the parties lose none of their rights to trial by judge or jury in the absence of voluntary settlement. The mediator has no authority to make a decision or impose a settlement. Communications during a mediation conference are confidential.
Contact Danny Mullis, ADR Program Director at 843-579-1435 (phone) or 843-579-1434 (fax) for additional information and/or questions.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Statement and Certification
Within the time period set forth in the Scheduling Order, counsel for each party is required to file and serve a statement certifying that counsel has: (1) provided the party with any materials relating to ADR which were required to be provided by the Local Civil Rule 16.01 Pre-Scheduling Order/Conference and Scheduling Order; (2) discussed the availability of ADR mechanisms with the party; and (3) discussed the advisability and timing of ADR with opposing counsel.
The ADR Statement and Certification is required without regard to whether an Order to Conduct Mediation has been entered.
A form which may be used as the ADR Statement and Certification is included on the forms page of this web site.
Actions subject to mediation
All civil actions filed in the district are subject to mediation. Parties may, however, decline to participate in mediation by so notifying the court.
Selection of mediator
Any person deemed qualified by all of the parties may serve as a mediator. In the absence of an agreement by the parties, a person must be certified by the court as qualified and taken from a roster of mediators maintained by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program Director.
Unless otherwise ordered, the parties must select a mediator within 20 days following issuance of an order to conduct mediation. If the parties cannot agree upon a mediator within this time period, the plaintiff's attorney shall immediately notify the court and request appointment of a mediator.
Magistrate judges are available for appointment by the court as mediators in limited circumstances, e.g., pro se and indigent cases, and serve without charge to the parties.
Compensation of mediator
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Director maintains a roster of certified mediators. An Application for certification as a Mediator can be obtained from the ADR Program Director, the Clerk of Court, or from the court's web site. If the application is in order and upon approval of the court, the applicant's name is added to the roster. The completed application should be returned to the ADR Program Director for review and submission to the court.
To be eligible for inclusion on the roster, a person must:
Reporting statistical data regarding mediations
As provided by this district's local rules, the Clerk of Court is authorized to require reporting of statistical data regarding mediations. See Local Civil Rule 16.10, DSC. This district has implemented a program of reporting which requires that each mediator complete an Alternative Dispute Resolution Tracking Form ("ADR Tracking Form") at the conclusion of any mediation over which he or she presides. The data obtained will be used to determine the success rate of mediation and, ultimately, to compare mediation to other forms of ADR.
The form should be returned to the ADR Program Director within thirty (30) days of the completion of any mediation. It should require only a few minutes to complete. Because a few inquiries may require input from counsel, the mediator may wish to cover these items during the mediation.
A copy of the ADR Tracking Form is included on the Forms page of this web site. It is designed to be a self-mailer. Additional copies may be reproduced by the mediator or obtained from the ADR Program Director, Clerk of Court's office, or from the court's web site.
Local Rule Reference
See Local Rules 16.03 through 16.12.