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Workers' Compensation Judges' Mediation Procedures

Christina J. Barbieri

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

    Philadelphia-Arch Street, Philadelphia-Northeast, Upper Darby, Malvern, Bristol, Dresher, Reading and Allentown.
     
  2. Are you willing to mediate claims that are assigned to you for hearing and decision?

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

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

    No.
     
  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:

    • What information must be contained in the memorandum?

      Claimant’s date of birth; Bureau claim number; nature of injury; current posture of medical treatment; current posture of any litigation; to what judge any litigation has been assigned; average weekly wage; rate of compensation; any offsets against compensation; any credits being taken or sought; any unpaid medical expenses that need to be addressed; any litigation expenses incurred thus far; any subrogation liens being claimed by the employer/insurer, welfare, third party medical benefits providers such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield or Union Health and Welfare funds; any support orders and the current status of any arrearages thereon; any pending UR matters; any demands and offers made thus far; whether or not the claimant is receiving or awaiting receipt of Social Security Disability benefits; whether or not the claimant is receiving or expects to receive Medicare.
       
    • What documents, if any, must accompany the memorandum?

      Any Bureau documents and previous decisions. If the matter is in litigation, any evidence submitted thus far, including transcripts.
       
    • How far in advance of the mediation must the parties submit the memorandum and accompanying documents?

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

    No.
     
  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?

    I would like the claimant to be present. If the claimant lives out of state, the claimant can participate by phone. The adjuster can participate by phone. Unless the employer representative has authority to resolve the claim, there is no reason for them to be present. Both attorneys must be present.
     
  9. Once you receive a mediation request, what is the usual amount of time elapsed until the mediation takes place?

    With my current schedule (as of April 2005), a mediation can be scheduled fairly soon.
     
  10. Describe generally how you conduct a mediation session.

    • Describe each step of the process.

      I would initially meet with all parties to discuss the process and get the understanding of each party as to where negotiations currently stand. I would then meet with the attorneys individually to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions. Hopefully negotiations will proceed from there.
       
    • 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 will use a mixed approach.
     
  11. Are you willing to conduct more than one session per claim?

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

    I want to know every issue that could arise so they are all addressed and there are no surprises at any subsequent Compromise and Release proceeding which may result.
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