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What Is Mediation & When Should You Mediate Your Case?

Plakas Mannos team during mediation

Have you heard the term “mediation"? Do you know what it means? Many people have heard of mediation but have never been through it and don’t know what to expect. This blog will explain what mediation is, how it is typically conducted, what you should expect at a mediation, when it may make sense to explore mediation in your case, and Plakas Mannos’ extensive experience with mediation.

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process in which a trained mediator works as a neutral third party to see if a dispute can be resolved by the parties’ agreement. Mediators are not judges, and they do not make any decisions that are binding on your case. Instead, their goal is to facilitate communication and determine whether a settlement can be achieved.

Ohio’s law governing mediation and the mediation process is the Uniform Mediation Act, Revised Code Section 2710.

How Is Mediation Conducted?

Sometimes mediation arises due to the parties’ agreement to mediate, and sometimes mediation is ordered by a court. Either way, the process is relatively similar, with the legal mediator meeting with each side and then going back and forth between sides to discuss, gather information, convey offers/demands, and work towards facilitating a resolution.

In most cases, prior to the mediation, the parties will provide the mediator with information about the case and any especially important documents. The extent of the information provided can vary depending on the nature and status of the case. As such, the mediator comes into the mediation with a baseline knowledge of the case, the issues, and the expectations of the parties.

What Should You Expect at Mediation?

Mediation is more informal than a trial or a court appearance, and normally occurs in a conference room or meeting room rather than a courtroom. A mediator does not take testimony or weigh evidence or determine who is right or who is wrong. You should not expect a mediator to make a final decision at the end of the mediation that rules in favor of either side. That is not the purpose of mediation.

You also should not expect the mediator to report to the court their opinion about the case or who the mediator believes is right or wrong. Mediators do not share mediation discussions with judges. The only information that a judge will receive about the mediation is whether it resulted in a settlement or not.

When Should You Mediate Your Case?

Mediation can be a valuable tool to determine whether your case can be resolved prior to trial. It is also a valuable tool in understanding how the other side values the case, and what issues they may be focused on and that you may need to understand to prepare for trial.

While not every case resolves at mediation, many times simply engaging in a mediation can bring the parties closer to a resolution. It is important to be prepared in advance of your mediation, and to have capable counsel to help advise you on whether a settlement may be appropriate in your case, and what the risks are of proceeding to trial.

If the Case Does Not Settle at Mediation, Was It a Waste of My Time?

Many times, and especially when the subject of the case involves significant loss and emotions, there can be trepidation associated with any events in the case. However, mediation is not something to be scared of or nervous for - it’s an opportunity to learn, to evaluate whether your case can be resolved, and to further understand the opposition’s story. Even when mediation is not successful, many times it can be a helpful step in telling the story of your case.

Even if the case is not resolved at mediation, you may receive valuable feedback from the mediator that helps you understand how a neutral, independent person views the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Many times, mediation is the first opportunity you will have to meet with a truly neutral and objective person to discuss your case. A mediator will many times discuss with the parties the strengths and weaknesses of their case in order to show each side the risks that they face with proceeding to a trial.

What Is Plakas Mannos’ Experience with Mediation?

Our attorneys at Plakas Mannos have experience with virtually every kind of mediation in all of the areas of law practiced at the firm, including: medical malpractice, wrongful death, personal injury, industrial injuries, business litigation and commercial disputes, family law, real estate law, etc. We also have experience with serving as the mediator in a wide variety of cases. Contact us about our mediation experience today.



About the Authors

Maria Headshot of David L. Dingwell

Maria Klutinoty Edwards handles business litigation, serious car and trucking accident cases, medical malpractice, industrial accidents, personal injury, wrongful death cases. David Dingwell is a partner at Plakas Mannos where he focuses on estate and trust litigation and planning, as well as probate and trust administration and legal / judicial ethics issues.

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