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Mediation Services

Introduction

I have served as a certified North Carolina Superior Court mediator for over seventeen years since retirement from the trial bench and have mediated well over twelve hundred cases in state and federal court, The American Arbitration Association, Financial Industry Regulatory Association, and for private parties. If you have questions, please email them. Case Experience – Click here for Case Experience.

Mediation
Mediation rules can be located at  www.nccourts.org/Courts/CRS/Councils/DRC/MSC/Rules.asp.
Administrative Office of the Courts Forms 811 – 816, etc. are free sources of required forms.
Advisory Opinions regarding Mediator conduct are also found at the www.nccourts.org website.

About Mediation

Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §7A-38.1 and the North Carolina Supreme Court’s Rules Implementing Mediated Settlement Conferences (MSC Rules), referral to mediated settlement is mandatory for civil actions pending in superior court (unless the parties agree to participate in one of the other options available to them through the dispute resolution menu). The only cases excluded from mandatory referral are actions in which a party is seeking the issuance of an extraordinary writ or is appealing the revocation of a motor vehicle operator’s license.

The Mediated Settlement Conference Program is designed as a “party pay” program in that the parties, and not the court or the taxpayers, compensate the mediator who conducts the mediated settlement conference. (However, in situations where the court finds that a party is indigent, i.e., without funds to pay, the mediator must waive his/her fee.) Since they are paying the mediator’s fee, parties are given an opportunity to select their mediator. Parties ordered to participate in mediated settlement must choose a mediator certified by the Dispute Resolution Commission. If the parties cannot agree on who shall conduct their conference or take no action to select a mediator, the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge will appoint a certified mediator to conduct the conference. The mediator is responsible for scheduling the conference and for finding a location where it can take place.

The mediator serves as a facilitator only, focusing the parties’ discussions and brainstorming with them about how they might settle their dispute. A mediator cannot and should not try to force parties to settle. Following a successful mediation, the agreement reached will be reduced to writing and signed and the mediator will notify the court that the case has settled. If the case does not settle in mediation, the mediator will report an impasse to the court and the dispute will proceed to trial. (The mediator will not discuss what occurred at mediation, including offers or counter-offers, with the judge or jury.) Many times, cases which impasse at mediation go on to settle in the coming weeks as parties and their attorneys continue the discussion begun in mediation.

Mediator Neutrality and Confidentiality

A mediator serves as a neutral party to a confidential process. The mediator is bound to the confidences of the parties and is not involved in any fashion with the controversy beyond that of seeking to help resolve it.

Mediation Rates  ( divided equally among parties )
Click here for Current Rates.

Subject Matter Categories — Case Experience
Click here for Case Experience.

Mediation Forms

In the event a mediated case settles, a settlement agreement will be prepared and signed off on by the parties. This agreement is enforceable in court should its terms not be followed.  A suggested template form is provided.

Mediated Settlement Agreement- Short Form (pdf)

Mediated Settlement Agreement- Long Form (pdf)

Mediation Program Rules

The Rules Implementing Statewide Mediated Settlement Conferences in Superior Court Civil Actions (MSC Rules) were first adopted by the Supreme Court in 1991, pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7A-38.1. The Rules provide a framework for expediting settlement of superior court civil actions. The MSC Rules were last revised on October 6, 2011, with the revisions effective January 1, 2012.

To view or to print the rules in their entirety, click below:

All MSC Rules : http://www.nccourts.org/Courts/CRS/Councils/DRC/MSC/Rules.asp

Disclaimer: While every effort was made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the rules available on the DRC/NC Courts website, the Dispute Resolution Commission/Administrative Office of the Courts is not responsible for any errors or omissions which may occur in these rules. See the General Statues of North Carolina, Rules volume.

To view or to print individual rules, select by clicking below:

Mediated Settlement Program Forms (Superior Court)

NC State Bar Council Opinions