Does the invoice reflect costs to be divided between the parties?
No. The amount specified as due and owed on the invoice has already been divided between the parties by our office and reflects the actual fee due and owed from the party to whom it was sent. Other questions regarding our fee schedule and fees should be directed to the case manager.
What is the mediation format?
While each neutral hearing officer has slightly different formats for their mediations, in general, a meeting with all parties and the mediator will take place at the beginning of the hearing. This is followed by individual confidential meetings between the mediator and the different parties. During this stage, the mediator endeavors to ascertain parties’ flexibility, constraints on same, and develop a strategy that will lead him or her to a critical path toward settlement. While some mediators tend to work more extensively with the actual litigants, others do not. This can be a matter of style or dictated by the facts of the case.
Does the client (Plaintiff) need to attend the hearing?
As long as it is not a great hardship or a condition required by the other party or parties, we recommend that the parties, particularly the claimant/plaintiff attend the hearing. The reasons for this are numerous, however, most importantly, it is good ADR practice to have the client “invested” in the process itself and this can only be accomplished by attendance.
Who else will be present at the hearing besides the attorneys, parties and mediator?
When conflicting fact patterns or conclusions are at issue, witnesses may be called in order to refute or contradict allegations made by other parties.
What is the status of "Confidentiality" as between Litigation Alternatives, Inc., mediators and parties?
The case managers at Litigation Alternatives Inc. treat all conversations with parties as confidential and will not disclose anything without prior approval. Disclosure may be made by a case manager to a mediator when a case is non-binding if such disclosure is non-prejudicial and will serve to enhance the quality of the procedure. All disclosures related to binding arbitrations must be agreed to by all parties.
Do we have a television or video machine at the office?
A video system is in place with a small television, but parties will have to supply tape equipment if needed.
What is the basis for an appeal of the arbitration?
A good faith belief that there has been either gross misconduct or material miscalculation by the hearing officer that would be grounds for appeal under the arbitration statutes of the jurisdiction. Refer to the “Litigation Alternatives, Inc. Procedural Rules” for further clarification.
How long after a hearing before an arbitration decision is due?
From the close of proofs and submission of additional briefs, a decision is due at the same time as would be mandated under the arbitration statutes of the jurisdiction. A timely receipt of a decision on the final due date via fax was held as appropriate when adjudicated the one time Litigation Alternatives was involved in such a dispute.
Do parties have to use the "Litigation Alternatives Procedural Rules?"
No. If the parties wish to use other set rules or amend our rules, this is acceptable, though this must be disclosed to the Hearing Officer prior to the meeting in order for the parties to not incur additional fees stemming from a pre-hearing review of a new set of rules.
Do parties have to disclose a side agreement to Litigation Alternatives, Inc.?
In general, the answer to the question is that they do not. It should be noted however that the quality of a mediation facilitation can be impaired should our case managers or the neutral not be advised. In a binding arbitration setting, an undisclosed side agreement is entirely acceptable.