How long (roughly) does it take for a civil case to enter mediation ..?

Asked over 1 year ago - Salem, OR

Once the demand letter is received by a defendant and they decide that settling is the best option rather than having the complaint filed against them in court how long does it take (approx) before the mediation process begins.? Does that timeline also depend on whether an insurance company will be covering the amount settled upon or not.?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Kevin Elliott Parks

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If a potential defendant in a dispute is inclined to settle a case prior to a complaint being filed, it's typically done in negotiations between the parties (or more commonly the parties' attorneys) and mediation with a paid neutral mediator is rarely part of the process.

    If it is agreeable to both parties to hire a mediator, that can happen at almost any time during the course of the dispute.

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  2. Troy Austin Pickard

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . Most civil disputes don't go through mediation, and especially not before the complaint is filed. In fact, I think that particular scenario is so uncommon that there's really no way to say how long it takes for that sort of dispute to enter mediation.

    Mediation only happens when both sides want to participate. If both sides do want mediation, then both sides simply need to agree on a mediator and then schedule a date.

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  3. Joanne Reisman

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . I almost never mediate anything. I prefer to run the case through the court system. Many counties on Oregon now have an arbitration process for small cases and the cost of the arbitrator is kept rather low. Alternatively once you are in the court system you can also try to "mediate" with an experienced trial Judge acting as your settlement conference judge/mediator. It's free if you do a a settlement conference via a trial court Judge (although you do pay a filing fee) The nice thing about being in the court as an active case is that both parties know if they can't agree the case will continue to trial so it gets done at some point. You also have formal tools to get discovery so you can get information you may need to help decide if you should settle or not. You can still mediate if you want but I only mediated once in a divorce because the other side insisted - the mediator was charging like $250 an hour and we were there all day and still didn't resolve the issues. Each side had to pay like $1,000.00 to the mediator. We eventually settled the case but I probably won't every use a mediator again. Most mediators are retired lawyers or judges that have taken special classes on how to resolve conflicts. You can talk to an attorney that can probably give you an idea as to what would be a good settlement offer and the attorney could make an offer for you. Again, not a big fan of mediation although it sounds good in theory. Consult with an attorney before you go ahead with this. You may have other better options. Hard to say via Avvo since we can't really flush you all the facts here.

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    Joanne Reisman
    Joanne Reisman, Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney - Portland, OR
    Posted over 1 year ago.

    Also be aware that there is a big difference between mediation and binding arbitration. Some insurance companies will try to get people to agree to binding arbitration - which is a trap. You can get a really bad decision and they you are stuck because you are "bound' and you can't appeal and get a bad decision repaired.

    Jay Bodzin
    Jay Bodzin, Family Law Attorney - Milwaukie, OR
    Posted over 1 year ago.

    "Rather low" is a relative measure, I have to say. The costs of arbitrators in mandatory-arbitration cases I've handled is usually enough to give my clients serious pause - $250 just to walk in the door at least. That's a lot, to some folk.

    Joanne Reisman
    Joanne Reisman, Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney - Portland, OR
    Posted over 1 year ago.

    I agree - it's not small change but say for a PI case, often 20.080 you know you are going to prevail if liability is clear or admitted and the arbitration fee is reimbursed to you as part of the costs you get awarded - so it's only temporary and I usually advance the fee for my client. Also the court arbitration is set at $250 - and while the arbitrator in theory could ask for more I have only had that happen once and it was like $100 - I have never gotten an hourly bill from an arbitrator which you will get from a mediator. Private mediation is like 3 attorneys burning up both clients money instead of just two because they want to be paid hourly. It can and will cost more than court mandated arbitration. (Unless you find someone who will negotiate a flat fee - not sure if anyone would do this.)

    Joanne Reisman
    Joanne Reisman, Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney - Portland, OR
    Posted over 1 year ago.

    And worth mentioning - once you pay your filing fee there are judges that can do a settlement confernce - which is very much like mediation although you may want to be careful which judge you pick as some are better than others, and there is no additional cost! Plus what I love about Judge settlement conferences, is that the Judge has the power to make it binding - so when there is an agreement we all go into the court room and read the agreement into the official court record and that will be the basis for a judge to sign off on a judgment stating the same if someone later tries to back out. It creates binding finality. I highly highly recommend Judge run settlement conferences over private mediation.

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