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ADR Tip- February 23

Recently, I convinced parties who had hired me in an arbitration to agree on a potentially significant cost saving form of alternative dispute resolution called “med-arb.”  Many of you may have heard of this.  I first learned of med-arb at The College of Civil Trial Mediators conference in San Diego last summer.  In med-arb (a mediation arbitration hybrid) parties first reach an agreement on the terms of the process itself.  The parties agree in writing that the outcome of the process will be binding and then attempt to negotiate their dispute with the help of a mediator.  If issues are left unresolved, the parties can move to arbitration.  The mediator then assumes the role of the arbitrator and renders a binding decision, either on the entirety of the case or on the remaining unresolved issues.  Of course, a different arbitrator can be used if the parties desire.  

The case I mentioned above involved a nursing home dispute which I had been asked to arbitrate. After discussing med-arb with the lawyers involved, an agreement was signed. I mediated the case and it was resolved successfully. However, if the mediation had ended in impasse, the process then would have moved on to arbitration with me as the arbitrator.  The fact that I was the arbitrator who was going to hear the dispute helped get the mediation resolved and saved an incredible amount of money.  

The reverse of this form of mediation is called arb-med. You would arbitrate the case but before the final ruling, the case would be mediated. 

I read this interesting article last week and am sharing it with you. Have a good weekend. 

Taylor AkersComment