Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Can You Mediate After a Lawsuit Has Been Filed?

Absolutely yes! You can contact a mediator, have your attorney contact a mediator, or talk to the other parties in your case about mediating the case at any stage of the case, either before the case is filed or while the case is pending in court.

I have mediated cases well before a lawsuit was filed. I have mediated cases just after the lawsuit was filed in court, and I have mediated a case just before trial, and prior to arbitration proceedings. Mediation is such a flexible option that can be introduced at any stage of the case. However, there may be very good reasons for wanting to negotiate a resolution through mediation before significant time, efforts, emotions and money are invested in the case.

The California Rules of Court require that all plaintiffs filing a civil lawsuit must serve a copy of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Packet along with the Complaint. Here is a link to the ADR Packet for San Francisco. It is intended to give litigants an overview of all of the ADR options, including binding and nonbinding arbitration, early settlement evaluation as well as mediation.

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