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Workers' Compensation Judges' Mediation Procedures

Susan S. Cercone

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

    Aliquippa or Pittsburgh.
  2. Are you willing to mediate claims that are assigned to you for hearing and decision?

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

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

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

    Two (2) hours.
  6. Do you require the parties to submit a pre-mediation memorandum? If so:

    No, but It could be helpful if the file on the case is not complete.
    • What information must be contained in the memorandum?

      Information that the parties believe would be of help in making the mediation valuable.
    • What documents, if any, must accompany the memorandum?

      If not in the record, all Bureau documents and medical documents.
    • How far in advance of the mediation must the parties submit the memorandum and accompanying documents?

      One or two days.
  7. Do you conduct a pre-mediation conference? If so, please describe what takes place at that conference.

  8. 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 both attorneys attend. Adjustor may be available by phone, but in a case where the parties are far apart and the issues are more complicated, the presence of the adjustor is very helpful.
  9. Once you receive a mediation request, what is the usual amount of time elapsed until the mediation takes place?

    Several dates are given to the parties for a mediation, within 30 days of the request. The parties then chose their date.
  10. Describe generally how you conduct a mediation session.

    • Describe each step of the process.

      The parties all meet together, and I explain the process and its voluntary nature. Any issues or offers/counteroffers which the parties want to discuss while we are all together are reviewed. I then talk to the claimant and counsel, the defense counsel and the adjustor, moving back and forth conveying information and making suggestions. A resolution may be reached, or a point may be reached when it seems it would be wise to try again another day, or it may become apparent that the case will not be resolved through mediation.
    • 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.

      Whichever is needed, with the evaluative approach being the most common.
  11. Are you willing to conduct more than one session per claim?

    Yes, always.
  12. Is there anything else the parties should know or do in advance of the mediation?

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