Medical Malpractice Mediation Instructions
Updated April 24, 2013
Please read carefully to make note of the changes per new Maryland Rules.
1. Objections to Scheduling Order Must be Filed within 30 days: Per Maryland Rule 17-203(b), all parties must file a Motion for Exemption from mediation with the Court within 30 days of the assignment date; otherwise, you will have consented to the Scheduling Order as it stands. In order for the Motion for Exemption to be granted, the court must determine that participating in mediation will not be productive. Motions for Exemption must have certificates of service to all counsel and the mediator. If you have filed a Motion for Exemption from mediation and it has not been ruled on for more than 45 days or your mediation is scheduled for less than two weeks away, you must contact the DCM Office at 410-887-3233 to notify them.
2. Scheduling and modifying a Mediation Conference Date: Within 30 days of the assignment date on the Scheduling Order or within fifteen (15) days after the naming of a new mediator as described in Paragraph 8, each party, through his or her counsel, is required to contact the mediator to establish a mediation conference date. Failure to contact the mediator will result in a mediation date being scheduled without your input. Once a mediation session is scheduled, you must provide two business days notice to a mediator to postpone or cancel the mediation session. The only way to cancel a mediation is by settling your case or receiving a granted Motion for Exemption from mediation (see Paragraph 1). Failure to provide the mediator with such notice will result in the party(ies) reimbursing the mediator the full $500 for two hours of time that the mediator reserved for conducting the mediation session.
3. Selection and Requests to Change Mediators: Court-Appointed Mediators are designated by the court and named in the Scheduling Order. If a party or counsel has a conflict with the mediator in the case, a request to change the mediator must be submitted to the DCM Coordinator within 15 days after the conflict is known. By written request and mutual agreement of all parties, the Court-Appointed Mediator named in the Scheduling Order may be replaced with a new Court-Appointed Mediator or private mediator if submitted to the DCM Coordinator within 15 days of the assignment date. Mediators will not be changed after the 15 days unless there is good cause.
4. Mediation Fees: Payment for mediation services is due prior to or at the initial mediation session. The fee for mediation is $250 per hour, split between/among the parties or as otherwise agreed. A maximum of two hours of mediation will be held and billed in each case. If a party wishes to continue beyond the two hours, all parties must agree and the mediation fee will remain at $250 per hour, prorated for the time. The parties and the mediator may also agree to end the mediation session before the expiration of two hours if all agree that no more progress is likely to be made in the mediation session. If parties end the mediation session before the expiration of two hours, the fee for mediation remains $500.
5. Attendance at Mediation: It is mandatory for all attorneys and parties with actual settlement authority to attend and participate in the mediation conference. Parties, attorneys and adjusters are hereby notified that failure to attend and fully participate in the mediation, without further Court Order exempting such attendance, will result in the imposition of the full mediation fee and may also result in the imposition of sanctions, additional fees and costs, as well as findings of contempt with resulting penalties at a court hearing. Any insurance carrier, directly or indirectly involved in the outcome of the case, must designate a company representative with settlement authority to attend the mediation conference.
6. Late and Failure to Appear Policy: If a party is going to be more than fifteen minutes late with good reason to a mediation session, the party must inform the mediator; however, the mediator and on-time parties are only required to wait for late parties for 30 minutes before the mediation is cancelled. After 30 minutes, parties who have not arrived are considered as failing to appear and will be responsible for the full $500 mediation fee.
7. Mediation Conference Statement: Enclosed with this Scheduling Order is a Mediation Conference Statement Form, which shall be fully completed by each party or his/her attorney and mailed to the mediator at least five days prior to the scheduled mediation. A copy of this form does not have to be exchanged with opposing counsel or parties. The Mediation Conference Statement Form should not be filed with the Court, and no trial judge will have access to the form. All materials submitted by the parties to the mediator in connection with the mediation conference will be held in strict confidence by the mediator.
8. Confidentiality: The mediator cannot be subpoenaed or called to testify as the mediators preserves and maintains the confidentiality of all written and oral communications made in connection with or during a mediation session, except where required by law to disclose information. If the parties agree, the parties’ communication made in or in connection with the mediation, which relates to the controversy being mediated, whether made to a mediator or a party, or any other person if made at the mediation session, is confidential.
9. Settlement of a Case Prior to Mediation Session: If the case is dismissed or a settlement is reached with all parties as to all issues prior to the scheduled mediation, the attorneys and/or parties must notify the mediator immediately in writing or he/she will be responsible for payment of mediation costs (see Paragraph 2).
10. Settlement of a Case During Mediation Session: If a complete settlement is reached as a result of the mediation conference, the attorneys shall file the settlement agreement or consent order on all issues within 30 days of the last mediation conference. All parties and counsel are required to complete an evaluation form upon the conclusion of the mediation session, whether or not the case settles.