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Rule 34. Judge-Conducted Intensive Mediation

(a) For purposes of this rule only, the term “complex case” shall mean: (1) with respect to any case in which the relief sought is monetary damages, a case wherein there is a realistic possibility the damages awarded could exceed $250,000.00; and (2) with respect to any case in which relief other than monetary damage is sought, a case wherein the trial can reasonably be expected to last more than five trial days.

        (b) Upon agreement of the parties, the presiding justice may assign a complex case for intensive mediation.  Such assignment may be made at or at any time after the case structuring order has been issued but shall not be made later than 90 days before the trial date except for good cause shown.  Assignment of a case to intensive mediation shall not stay, alter, suspend, or delay pretrial discovery, motions, hearings, conferences or trial unless the presiding justice so orders.

        (c) The mediator for intensive mediation conducted under this rule shall be an active, senior active or retired superior court justice other than the justice to whom the case has been assigned for trial or who has presided over any pretrial hearings or ruled upon any pretrial motions.  The justice who serves as mediator and all persons who participate in the mediation shall have no communication with the justice to whom the case is assigned for trial concerning the mediation or any matter pertaining to the merits of the case.  All justices who serve as mediators pursuant to this rule shall have completed an approved mediation training program.  The provisions of Rule 32(c)(3) shall apply to all superior court justices who serve as mediators under this rule.

       The litigants and counsel must recognize that the neutrals will not be acting as legal advisors or legal representatives. They must further recognize that, because the neutrals are performing quasi-judicial functions and are performing under the auspices of the Court, each such neutral has immunity from suit, and shall not be called as a witness in any subsequent proceeding relating to the parties' negotiations and/or his/her participation, except as set forth in Rule 32(d).

        (d) The parties shall be provided at least 30 days advance notice of the date, time and location of the mediation session and of the name of the justice who will be serving as the mediator.   Any party claiming grounds to recuse the justice assigned as mediator, shall file a motion for such relief within 10 days after the date of the notice scheduling the mediation.  Any such motion shall be referred for ruling to the justice assigned as the mediator and said justice’s ruling on the motion shall be final and not subject to further review.   In the event the justice assigned as mediator grants the motion to recuse, the case shall be reassigned to another justice for mediation.  Mediation sessions shall be held at a court facility but, subject to the availability of facilities, normally shall be held in a location other than the court wherein the case will be tried.

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