View the PDF

Workers' Compensation Judges' Mediation Procedures

Terry W. Knox

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

    Reading, Malvern, Lancaster, possibly others in the Eastern or Southeastern districts upon request.
  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?

    Yes/no. A claimant will be counseled about the importance of legal representation before the mediation begins. Defendants may not appear without counsel.
  6.  
  7. Do you require the parties to execute an agreement to mediate? If so, please describe briefly the matters addressed by the agreement.

    Yes. See below:
    Request for Mediation
    Mediation Confirmation Letter
    Basic Rules for Mediation Conferences
  8.  
  9. How much time do you typically allow for a mediation session?

    I conduct mediations only on non-hearing days. One-half day is set aside for a mediation conference. A maximum of two mediations is scheduled.
  10.  
  11. Do you require the parties to submit a pre-mediation memorandum? If so:

     
    • What information must be contained in the memorandum?

      See the Mediation Conference Disclosure Report.
    •  
    • What documents, if any, must accompany the memorandum?

      Bureau documents. Medical narrative reports, if available. Vocational reports, if available.
    •  
    • How far in advance of the mediation must the parties submit the memorandum and accompanying documents?

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

    No.
  13.  
  14. 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 must attend. The adjuster is generally available by telephone, as obtaining authority from superiors is often needed.
  15.  
  16. Once you receive a mediation request, what is the usual amount of time elapsed until the mediation takes place?

    1-2 months.
  17.  
  18. Describe generally how you conduct a mediation session.

    • Describe each step of the process.

      I first meet with all persons present to go over the process and procedures, and to disclose what I know and to learn what else I need to know. I then meet with claimant and counsel to determine what claimant wants to accomplish and to outline a proposal to take to defendant. I then meet with defense counsel to discuss the demand and determine the authority and the response to the demand. I recommend contact with the adjuster if additional authority might be needed. I go back and forth with the sides in this fashion as long as progress is being made. Whether or not the parties are close to resolution, I have a final joint meeting when I discuss each party's last position, and make recommendations to each side for future discussion or additional mediation sessions.
    •  
    • 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.

      Primarily, I use the facilitative approach. Evaluations, including settlement numbers, are generally provided only in the confidential meetings, not the joint ones. I don't want to give either side ideas on how to pursue/defend the current litigation, if active.
    •  
    • 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.

      Primarily, I use the facilitative approach. Evaluations, including settlement numbers, are generally provided only in the confidential meetings, not the joint ones. I don't want to give either side ideas on how to pursue/defend the current litigation, if active.
    •  
  19. Are you willing to conduct more than one session per claim?

    Yes.
  20.  
  21. Is there anything else the parties should know or do in advance of the mediation?

    Claimant's counsel should have already reviewed the file realistically with claimant. Defense counsel should have already reviewed the file with the adjuster, and have FIRM authority to a certain level, and make sure that the adjuster and/or supervisor with ultimate authority is immediately available.
Contact UsCommonwealth PortalContact the Web Team | Privacy PolicyDisclaimer
Copyright ©  Commonwealth of Pennsylvania