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Alternative dispute resolution

Many cases can be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties without the necessity of traditional litigation, which can be expensive, time consuming, and stressful. The Court finds that it is in the best interest of the parties that they participate in alternatives to traditional litigation, including arbitration or mediation.

ADR Procedures

1. All parties to the dispute may voluntarily agree to take the matter to a mediator. A stipulation form is required and can be found in our forms section under ADR. Parties choose, contact, and hire their own mediator.

2. An initial Case Management Conference will be scheduled within 120 days of filing the Complaint. An original Case Management Conference Statement must be filed with the clerk no later than 15 days before the scheduled Case Management Conference. The court strongly encourages all parties and their counsel to consider and utilize ADR procedures. If all parties check the "mediation" or "arbitration" box on the Case Management Statement at paragraph 10c, the court will enter an order for ADR and set a review date for receipt of a signed ADR stipulation. If the signed stipulation is received by the court on or before the review date, that review date will be automatically vacated. If the stipulation has not been received by the review date, then appearance of all counsel and unrepresented parties is mandatory at the review hearing to explain why the parties have not moved forward with their agreed upon ADR process.

3. Any ADR services shall be paid for by the parties pursuant to a separate ADR fee agreement.

 


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of ADR versus litigation?

ADR can save time. A dispute can be resolved in a matter of months, or even weeks, while litigation can take years.

ADR can save money. Attorneys' fees, court costs, and expert fees can be reduced or avoided altogether.

ADR provides more participation. Parties have more opportunities with ADR to express their interest and concerns, instead of focusing exclusively on legal rights.

ADR provides more control and flexibility. Parties can choose the ADR process that is most likely to bring a satisfactory resolution to their dispute.

ADR can reduce stress. ADR encourages cooperation and communication, while discouraging the adversarial atmosphere of litigation. Surveys of parties who have participated in an ADR process have found much greater satisfaction than with parties who have gone through litigation.

What are the main forms of ADR offered by the Court?

Mediation is an informal, confidential process in which a neutral party (the mediator) assists the parties in understanding their own interests, the interests of the other parties and the practical and legal realities they all face. The mediator then helps the parties to explore options and arrive at a mutual acceptable resolution of the dispute. The mediator does not decide the dispute, the parties do.

When is Arbitration Appropriate?

The action is for personal injury, property damage, or breach of contract;

Only monetary damages are sought

Witness testimony, under oath, is desired;

An advisory opinion is sought from an experienced litigator (if a non-binding arbitration).

When is Mediation Appropriate?

The parties want a no adversary procedure;

The parties have a continuing business or personal relationship;

Communication problems are interfering with a resolution;

There is an emotional element involved;

The parties are interested in an injunction, consent decree, or other form of equitable relief.

Arbitration is normally an informal process in which the neutral (the arbitrator) decides the dispute after hearing the evidence and arguments of the parties. The parties can agree to binding or non-binding arbitration. Binding arbitration is designed to give the parties a resolution of their dispute when they cannot agree between themselves or with a mediator. If the arbitration is non-binding, any party can reject the arbitrator's decision and request a trial.

The court has a binder containing resumes of mediators with both specialized training and experience. This binder is available from the Superior Court Clerk, Law Library and Arbitration Administrator. It is also available on line by clicking here.

© 2016 Superior Court of Nevada County