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Workers' Compensation Judges' Mediation Procedures

Martin Burman

Office: Malvern District: Eastern
  1. Please list the offices at which you will mediate a claim.

    Dresher, Malvern, and Philadelphia.
  2.  
  3. Are you willing to mediate claims that are assigned to you for hearing and decision?

    Yes, but only with the agreement of the parties.
  4.  
  5. Are you willing to mediate claims in which one or both parties are not represented by counsel?

    No.
  6.  
  7. Do you require the parties to execute an agreement to mediate? If so, please describe briefly the matters addressed by the agreement.

    No.
  8.  
  9. How much time do you typically allow for a mediation session?

    As much as is needed. The current record is four hours; usually they last one to two hours.
  10.  
  11. Do you require the parties to submit a pre-mediation memorandum? If so:

    The memo is optional, and may contain anything a party feels is pertinent. The memo is confidential, and need not be shared with the opponent.
  12.  
  13. Do you conduct a pre-mediation conference? If so, please describe what takes place at that conference.

    No.
  14.  
  15. Do you require all participants (claimant, adjustor/employer representative, counsel) to attend the mediation personally? Under what circumstances do you permit a participant to attend by telephone?

    While I prefer everyone in attendance, it is frequently geographically not feasible for the adjuster to attend. Claimant and both counsel are required, with someone with authority available by phone.
  16.  
  17. Once you receive a mediation request, what is the usual amount of time elapsed until the mediation takes place?

    It can be as little as a few days, depending on the flexibility of the parties.
  18.  
  19. Describe generally how you conduct a mediation session.

     
    • Describe each step of the process.

      I start with a group discussion followed by separate meetings with each side. I try to avoid any counsel-only chats, unless requested.
    •  

      Indicate whether you use a facilitative (i.e., helping the parties to communicate and generate their own solutions), evaluative (i.e., discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each party's case and/or offering an opinion as to the settlement value), or mixed approach.

      Mixed, 80 percent facilitative; 20 percent evaluative.
    •  
  20. Are you willing to conduct more than one session per claim?

    Yes.
  21.  
  22. Is there anything else the parties should know or do in advance of the mediation?

    They should come prepared to actually settle, and not merely to fish for my views. It is also helpful if serious offers and demands are exchanged before the conference and if the parties are ready to settle.
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