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Workers' Compensation Judges' Mediation Procedures

Beverly Doneker

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

  3. Are you willing to mediate claims that are assigned to you for hearing and decision?

    Yes, provided both parties agree, in writing or on the record, that I may decide the case if it does not settle.
  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?

    As much as is necessary.
  11. Do you require the parties to submit a pre-mediation memorandum? If so:

    • What information must be contained in the memorandum?

      Amount of demand and/or offer, amount of authority, average weekly wage and compensation rate, strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case.
    • What documents, if any, must accompany the memorandum?

    • How far in advance of the mediation must the parties submit the memorandum and accompanying documents?

      Two days in advance. If it is not submitted, I reserve the right to cancel 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?

    Counsel must be present in person. Anyone else may participate by phone.
  17. Once you receive a mediation request, what is the usual amount of time elapsed until the mediation takes place?

    About one month.
  19. Describe generally how you conduct a mediation session.

    • Describe each step of the process.

      I speak to everyone together to get a handle on where things are and what, if any, barriers we may need to overcome. I then work with each party to try to reach a compromise.
    • 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.
  20. Are you willing to conduct more than one session per claim?

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

    Both parties must have authority to settle before the mediation. I do not view these sessions as giving an advisory opinion on the value of the case, with the parties to work it out on their own later.
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