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Workers' Compensation Judges' Mediation Procedures

A. Michael Snyder

Office: Northeast Philadelphia District: Southeastern
  1. Please list the offices at which you will mediate a claim.

    Northeast Philadelphia and Philadelphia (State Office Building). Others by prior arrangement.
  3. Are you willing to mediate claims that are assigned to you for hearing and decision?

  5. Are you willing to mediate claims in which one or both parties are not represented by counsel?

  7. Do you require the parties to execute an agreement to mediate? If so, please describe briefly the matters addressed by the agreement.

  9. How much time do you typically allow for a mediation session?

    One and one-half (1½) hours.
  11. Do you require the parties to submit a pre-mediation memorandum? If so:

    No. The parties are only required to provide me with copies of any depositions, hearing transcripts, or reports that have been submitted to the judge, or which are going to be submitted to the judge.
    • How far in advance of the mediation must the parties submit the memorandum and accompanying documents?

      The documents must be received 5 days before the mediation.
  13. Do you conduct a pre-mediation conference? If so, please describe what takes place at that conference.

  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?

    Claimant and counsel must attend personally. The adjustor/employer representative is encouraged to attend personally, but phone attendance will be allowed. Unless there are exigent medical circumstances, the claimant may not participate by telephone.
  17. Once you receive a mediation request, what is the usual amount of time elapsed until the mediation takes place?

    Can be as little as one (1) week, sometimes even less. We will accommodate the parties' schedule completely.
  19. Describe generally how you conduct a mediation session.

    • Describe each step of the process.

      Introduction to the parties. Allow the claimant to state their desires and concerns. Attorneys summarize the strengths of their case. Separate caucus with each side. The claimant sometimes is brought in again for caucus. All parties rejoin when there is either a settlement, in which case the terms are repeated, or the mediator is convinced the parties can go no further that day. If there is something else that must be done to get to a resolution, a statement is made of what that is and how long a time period is to be allowed to accomplish the necessary task.
    • 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.

      I use a mixed approach. Every case merits a unique method of mediating, so that no one pure approach works for every case.
  20. Are you willing to conduct more than one session per claim?

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

    They should communicate some sort of demand to opposing counsel prior to the mediation to allow an opportunity to obtain some authority.
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