Bar News - March 23, 2007
Judges Available for Mediation
Five superior court judges are now available to serve as mediators for complex cases under Superior Court Rule 170-B.
The 170-B mediators are Judges Gillian L. Abramson, Carol Ann Conboy, Peter H. Fauver, John M. Lewis, and Timothy J. Vaughan.
According to Superior Court Rule 170-B, Judge-Conducted Intensive Mediation, which took effect February 2006, judges would mediate civil damages cases “in which there is a realistic possibility the damages awarded could exceed $250,000; and non-damages (equity) cases wherein the trial can reasonably be expected to last more than five trial days.”
The 170-B mediation works this way: All involved parties must voluntarily agree to the mediation. The parties inform the presiding justice where the trial is scheduled that they want the case assigned to one of the designated Rule 170-B judge-mediators for intensive mediation. The request may be made anytime after the initial Rule 62 conference but no later than 90 days before the trial date (except for “good cause”).
Cases assigned under this rule are usually allotted one full day for mediation, at a court facility other than the trial court, but the mediator has the discretion to reduce or increase the time as appropriate.
“The advantage with 170-B is that you get an experienced judge with mediation training that is dedicated to just that case and expects to spend at least one full day, maybe more on that case,” explains Superior Court Chief Justice Robert J. Lynn. The longer block of time for the mediation can be an advantage for cases which, because of their size or complexity, are not generally suited for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) under Superior Court Rule 170.