Snyder: Mediation Is Critical Right Now
Tuesday, March 24, 2020 | 729 | 0 | min read
Courts are closed. Attorneys and claims professionals are working from home as best they can. But disputes continue.
If an employer is responsible for a claimant’s medical care, delivering that care during a shelter-in-place order is a challenge. How a dispute is handled now can determine how the case will proceed in the long term.
Because courts are closed, litigating parties should make an extra effort to resolve disputes through negotiation. However, when they are unable to do so, agreeing to mediate is the best alternative.
Issues subject to mediation can include conflicts usually resolved by motion, discovery disputes or entire cases. You can contact your mediator of choice by phone or text at or by email. She will take it from there.
Two mediation options are available during the shutdown.
Mediation by video
Your mediator can conduct a mediation while everyone remains at home through several applications, including Free Conference Call, Zoom or Legaler. This can happen quickly — as soon as parties agree on a time and electronically send the mediator their mediation statements so she knows the basic outlines of the dispute.
Scheduling an in-person mediation
If parties insist on an in-person mediation, the time to schedule is now.
Once courts and mediation venues reopen, scheduling will be a mad dash to secure an available time. Cases already on the court’s calendar for a future date have first priority, pushing litigants with disputes cresting now further back.
In contrast, cases with a date already on the mediator's calendar will get the first chance for any other date if circumstances allow an earlier date or must be further delayed.
You may be feeling frustrated as you see the conflicts mounting in your email inbox. There is a solution available right now: mediation.
Attorney Teddy Snyder mediates workers' compensation cases throughout California. She can be contacted through WCMediator.com.