(A) RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION
Upon order of the Court, any civil action filed in the Stow Municipal Court may be submitted to mediation as provided in this rule. By participating in mediation, a non-party participant, as defined by Ohio Revised Code Section 2710.01(D), submits to the Court’s jurisdiction to the extent necessary for enforcement of this rule. Any non-party participant shall have the rights and duties under this rule as are attributed to parties, except that no evidence privilege shall be expanded.
Mediator is defined to mean any individual who mediates cases pursuant to an order or appointment by this Court, regardless of whether that individual is an employee, independent contractor or volunteer.
(B) SELECTION AND TIMING FOR MEDIATION
Any civil case may be referred to mediation by a judge or the chief magistrate.
A party opposed to either the referral or the appointed mediator must file a written objection with the Court within seven (7) days of receiving the notice of the mediation and explain the reasons for any opposition.
A mediation may be scheduled for further sessions if deemed appropriate by the Mediator.
Continuances shall be granted only for good cause shown and after a mutually acceptable future date has been determined. No continuance will be granted if the mediation cannot be scheduled prior to the established trial date. All continuance requests must be made at least one week before the scheduled mediation.
(D) NO STAY OF PROCEEDINGS
All remaining court orders and deadlines shall remain in effect if a case is referred to mediation. No order is stayed or suspended during the mediation process.
(E) MEDIATION PRIVILEGE AND CONFIDENTIALITY
Mediation communications are privileged and/or confidential as described in Ohio Revised Code 2710.03-2710.10, the Rules of Evidence and any other pertinent judicial rule(s).
(F) CLIENT DEFINED CONFIDENTIALITY
If the parties wish mediation communication to be confidential they will effect and file with the Court a written confidentiality agreement prior to the scheduled mediation.
(G) MEDIATORS DUTY AND REPORT
At the conclusion of the mediation and in compliance with R.C. 2710.06 the Court shall be informed of the status of the mediation including, but not limited to, all of the following:
- Whether the mediation occurred or was terminated;
- Whether a settlement was reached on some, all or none of the issues;
- Attendance of the parties; and
- Future mediation session(s), including the date and time.
No other information shall be directly or indirectly communicated by the mediator to the Court, unless all who hold a mediation privilege, including the mediator, have consented to such disclosure. The mediator shall keep mediation communications confidential, unless all who hold a mediation privilege, including the mediator, have consented to such disclosure.
(H) DUTIES OF ATTORNEYS/PARTIES
Trial counsel, all parties and, if applicable, the principal insurance adjuster(s), all with authority to settle, shall personally attend all mediation sessions and be prepared to discuss all relevant issues, including settlement terms. Any business entity must have a representative present other than counsel.
If counsel or any mediation party becomes aware of the identity of a person or entity whose consent is required to resolve the dispute, but who has not yet been joined as a party in the pleadings, they shall promptly inform the mediator and the assigned judge or magistrate.
If the opposing parties to any case have either resided in a common residence or are related by blood, adoption, or marriage, and have known or alleged domestic abuse at any time prior to the mediation, then the parties or their counsel have a duty to disclose such information to the mediation staff. Such party shall have a duty to participate in any screening required by the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Rules of Superintendence Rule 16 both prior to, and, in the mediator’s discretion, during the mediation session(s).
If any of the individuals identified in the above-paragraph fail to attend mediation without good cause, the Court may impose sanctions, including the award of attorney’s fees and other costs, contempt or other appropriate sanctions including default judgment or the dismissal of their claims
(J) NO ADVICE
The efforts of the mediator shall not be construed as giving legal advice. The Court may have materials for legal or other support services available in the community. The mediator is authorized to provide such resource information; however, such distribution shall not be construed as a recommendation of or referral to such resource. The recipient of that information is charged with the duty to evaluate those resources independently.
(K) MEDIATION MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
The assigned mediator, parties or counsel, if applicable, as agreed by the parties, may immediately prepare a written memorandum memorializing the agreement reached by the parties. The “Mediation Memorandum of Agreement” may be signed by the parties and counsel (if the “Mediation Memorandum” is signed it will not be privileged pursuant to R.C. 2710.05(A)(1)). The written “Mediation Memorandum of Agreement” may become an order of the court after review and approval by the parties, their attorneys (if applicable) and the assigned judge or chief magistrate. No oral agreement by counsel or with parties or an officer of the court will be regarded unless made in open court.
(L) ADMINISTRATIVE DISMISSAL
If the parties fail to dismiss a settled case within the later of thirty (30) days or the time noted in the entry that gave the Court notice of the settlement or Mediation Memorandum of Agreement, then the Court may dismiss the case administratively. Upon such administrative dismissal, court costs shall be paid from the funds deposited. If court costs exceed the funds deposited, each party shall bear their own costs.
(M) COSTS OF MEDIATION
A court cost, as set for the in the Schedule of Court Costs, shall be assessed in any case referred to mediation.