Q. Can a Mediator impose a settlement?
A. No. By law, a Mediator has no authority to “decide” a case or, impose a settlement on the parties. The power of the Mediator is to facilitate communication and try to devise a successful resolution that the parties agree to before the Mediation ends.
Q. What if there’s no movement and the process stalls?
A. A Mediator can declare the Mediation at an impasse and can suspend or end the Mediation. But that is the rare exception and my goal as Mediator is to keep the parties productively engaged in reaching an acceptable resolution.
Q. What does the Mediator report to the referring Court:
A. All I can report is that the parties successfully agreed to end the dispute, agreed to suspend the Mediation and resume talks at a later date, or failed to reach agreement or, that a party or its attorney did not appear as agreed.
Q. Can the statements made during the Mediation, or the fact of attempts at compromise, be cited in Court or otherwise made public?
A. No, again, by law, as a general rule, the contents of the Mediation are fully confidential and may not be cited in subsequent litigation or to the Court. Nor may the Mediator be compelled to testify about the Mediation process or proceedings.
Q. Are the results of Mediation binding on the parties?
A. Yes, under law, if all parties and their counsel sign a Mediated Settlement Agreement, which is signed at the conclusion of a successful Mediation, then that Agreement is and remains binding and enforceable.