Mediation Message No. 7

APPEARANCES AT MEDIATIONS

Although the law is clear, at least as far as court-ordered mediations are concerned, that all counsel and parties (including insurance representatives) shall attend the mediation (see below, occasional non-compliance with this requirement can impede settlement. It is therefore advisable when a necessary person to the mediation cannot be present because of employment, family or geographical circumstances, that counsel for that party or entity advise the mediator of the absence and ask that it be excused and/or that the person be available by telephone. The mediator will appreciate this courtesy.
Additionally if the absent person’s appearance is critical to a discussion of the issues or settlement, such notice provides the mediator with the opportunity to reschedule the mediation.

“Trial counsel, parties, and persons with full authority to settle the case, shall personally attend the mediation, unless excused by the court for good cause. If any consent to settle is required for any reason, the party with the consent authority shall be personally present at the mediation. If no trial counsel, party, or person with full authority to settle a case is personally present at the mediation, unless excused for good cause, the party who is in compliance with this section may immediately terminate the mediation.” (Code of Civil Procedure section 1737 [operative until January 1, 2004].) “The parties shall personally appear at the first mediation session, and at any subsequent session unless excused by the mediator… an insurance representative of a covered party also shall be present or available at such sessions, unless excused by the mediator.” (California Rule of Court 1634 and Los Angeles Superior Court Rule 12.15.)

Copyright, Michael D. Marcus, October 2003

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