Several years ago, the Indiana Supreme Court decided an Indiana trial court judge could order a case to mediation before giving a trial court date without any such rule violating the right to open access to courts.
This is because in the right case, an Indiana trial court judge could and can hear a case and waive any court-specific rule or local rule for the county to participate in mediation before a hearing. With this case, mediation was firmly established in Indiana. Most mediations resolve any given case based on statistics before trial. This blog explores what can be accomplished in difficult cases where resolution appears elusive-to-impossible.
First, mediation may be scheduled at any time during a civil matter. This means that even early on in state or federal litigation, mediation may be requested and ordered to settle a civil case or simplify a simple case. This may save tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and also allow each party to move on with life and business without the financial and other implications of mediation impairing the future (such as with lending, which may be limited with a pending law suit).
Second, in cases where resolution is not possible and a trial is a given legal fact, mediation may resolve or limit the issues, making the trial more efficient and less costly on key issues. The key take-away is mediation is not just focused on or limited to total resolution of a case.
Third, mediation may be requested and ordered at any time for any reason or in some cases, no reason at all. This may not seem like an important issue, but it is key. Parties and litigants often get “welded” to a position, and mediation may be used to allow a party to relent on a position without appearing to abandon the claim.
Fourth, in the most contentious and complex cases, mediation may be used to reach a memorandum of settlement with the findings and details to follow by different documents. While disagreement may be expected, the mediator may be appointed an arbitrator to finalize and decide the esoteric issues without trial. None of the possibilities of this blog is required or expected in mediation but show the great flexibility of this process for litigants that Indiana trial court judges may use to ensure fair and timely justice.
This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle mediation in civil state and federal courts throughout Indianapolis, the State of Indiana and consult nationally. This blog is intended for general information purposes and is not a solicitation for legal services nor specific legal advice. It is an advertisement.