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Workers' Compensation Judges' Mediation Procedures

Perry Jones

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

    New Castle is the primary office, but I will accommodate the parties as the situation may warrant.
  2.  
  3. Are you willing to mediate claims that are assigned to you for hearing and decision?

    Yes.
  4.  
  5. Are you willing to mediate claims in which one or both parties are not represented by counsel?

    Yes.
  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?

    Half a day.
  10.  
  11. Do you require the parties to submit a pre-mediation memorandum? If so:

    No
  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?

    Personal attendance is not required but preferred. I do insist that a representative be available by phone throughout the proceedings and expect counsel to ensure availability.
  16.  
  17. Once you receive a mediation request, what is the usual amount of time elapsed until the mediation takes place?

    One to two weeks, depending on the schedule of the parties.
  18.  
  19. Describe generally how you conduct a mediation session.

     
    • Describe each step of the process.

      I start with everyone present and find out what has been shared among all the parties and get a sense of the problem and the status. I then meet separately with each party in an effort to make progress toward settlement. There is usually some fine-tuning along the way and after general agreement. Individual meetings generally occur several times as progress is made at each step. There are also additional group meetings along the way.
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    • 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. It seems to depend more on the situation than on a preconceived methodology.
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  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?

    Preparation is important. Recently I had a conference where information had not been processed and no substantive work could be done. Groundwork was laid and there will be another conference, but, as this is another judge's case, time is a problem. Having a clear understanding of your initial goals and the issues, and having all information current and at hand, is important so that substantive work can be done. A genuine interest in settlement is important. Showing up because it was "demanded" by a judge is not terribly useful. Sometimes a suggestion to do so can get parties moving in the right direction and a conference can then be useful. So far I would say that settlement conferences have been quite successful.
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