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Workers' Compensation Judges' Mediation Procedures

Michael R. Hetrick

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

    Lancaster.
  2.  
  3. Are you willing to mediate claims that are assigned to you for hearing and decision?

    No.
  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?

    One and one-half (1½) hours.
  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?

    No. Counsel and claimant must attend; adjuster/employer representative may participate by phone.
  16.  
  17. Once you receive a mediation request, what is the usual amount of time elapsed until the mediation takes place?

    Thirty (30) days.
  18.  
  19. Describe generally how you conduct a mediation session.

    • Describe each step of the process.

      I hold a group session for information gathering, and then separate sessions with claimant and employer. This process may be repeated several times. A final group session is held to review the resolution reached, or to review any progress made and to plan the next step.
    •  
    • 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.

      My goal in mediation is to use a facilitative approach, although most mediations evolve into a mixed approach. I will provide a range of settlement value which is an evaluative tool, but do not evaluate the value before we begin.
    •  
  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?

    I appreciate a heads-up from the parties before the session of any special circumstances, for instance: a difficult claimant, employer, or adjuster; counsel doesn’t have authority (in the monetary sense); or any other special circumstance.
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