Pursuant to Part II, Article 73-a of the New Hampshire Constitution and Supreme Court Rule 51(A)(7), the Supreme Court of New Hampshire adopts the following temporary and technical amendments to court rules.
(1) Scope. The provisions of this rule shall apply only to proceedings in which the parties are ordered to participate in mediation under RSA 461-A:7 and RSA 458:15-a, including brought-forward cases under either statute.
(2) Services. Mediators shall be paid for conducting mediation sessions, drafting mediated agreements, and performing necessary administrative tasks. "Administrative tasks" may include reviewing the file, screening for domestic violence, scheduling and rescheduling sessions, and having conferences with counsel. Except as provided
below, mediators shall not be paid for travel time; see section (8) below for mileage reimbursement.
(3) Disclosure of Fees. Before mediation starts either the court or the mediator shall provide the parties a written agreement to mediate disclosing both the set fee, and in RSA 458:15-a cases and in RSA 461-A cases that do not qualify as indigent, the hourly fee for any time after the 5 hours. This disclosure of both fees shall be in at least size 12 font. Before mediation begins, the agreement to mediate shall be signed by the parties, the mediator, and if present, counsel.
(4) Time Records. Each mediator shall keep a record of time spent on each case clearly itemizing administrative, mediation, and drafting time.
(5) Fees in RSA 461-A Indigent Cases.
(a) If both parties are found to be indigent according to Family Division Administrative Order # 2005-4 (December 30, 2005), the mediator shall be paid a set fee of $300.00 for his or her services if one or more sessions occur. The court may order each party to pay a proportional amount of this fee. The fee shall be paid from the special fund established pursuant to RSA 461-A:17 and repaid by the parties in accordance with RSA 461-A:18. Mediators have discretion to bill less than the set fee when warranted.
(b) If only one party qualifies as indigent, it shall be presumed that the person not qualifying as indigent shall pay the fee as set out in sections (6) and (7), below. However, the court may order that the special fund pay half of the fees, as justice requires.
(c) In indigent cases, if the parties, or either of them, fail to appear for the first session with the mediator, the mediator shall be paid $120.00 from the special fund in lieu of the $300.00 set fee. The court may allot the responsibility for reimbursing the state for fees for missed sessions between the parties, as justice requires.
(d) Only upon express, written finding for good cause and exceptional circumstances by the court will the maximum fees be exceeded or will additional fees be authorized. All motions to exceed the maximum fee must be approved prior to the $300.00 fee being exceeded; provided, however, that the court may waive the requirement for prior approval when justice so requires. If a motion to exceed is granted, the hourly rate for payments to mediators exceeding the $300.00 amount shall be based upon the sliding scale in section 7(a) below.
(6) Fees in Other Cases – Up to Maximum of 5 Hours
(a) In all RSA 458:15-a cases, and in RSA 461-A:15 cases that do not qualify as indigent, the fee shall be a set fee $300.00 for mediation services up to a maximum of 5 hours. Actual time for any necessary administrative tasks (up to a maximum of 60 minutes for each case) and for any out-of-session time, drafting of mediated agreements shall be included in the 5 hours, except as otherwise provided.
(b) The set fee of $300.00 for up to a maximum of 5 hours shall be a charge against the parties in a proportional amount as the court may determine. Mediators have discretion to bill less than the set fee when
(c) If the parties or either of them fail to appear for any session with the mediator, or cancel a mediation session less than 2 business days in advance, the scheduled hours shall count toward the 5 hour maximum.
(d) After 3 total hours or before any session that is scheduled to put the total number of hours beyond 5 hours, whichever occurs first, the mediator shall provide written notice of the change in hourly fees after 5 hours and an itemized bill to the clients. The notice shall disclose the change in fees after 5 hours in at least size 12 font. This notice will allow clients the option to continue mediation beyond 5 hours under the fee schedule in section 7 below or have the case put back on the trial docket.
(7) Fees in Other Cases – After 5 Hours
(a) If the parties’ combined annual gross income is less than $100,000, the time beyond 5 hours shall be on a sliding scale hourly rate for each person based on his or her individual gross income, as follows:
$ 10,000 and under $ 15 hour
$ 10,001 – $ 15,000 $ 20 hour
$ 15,001 – $ 20,000 $ 25 hour
$ 20,001 – $ 30,000 $ 35 hour
$ 30,001 – $ 35,000 $ 45 hour
$ 35,001 – $ 40,000 $ 55 hour
$ 40,001 – $ 50,000 $ 65 hour
over $ 50,000 $ 75 hour
Each party shall pay at his or her hourly rate unless the court orders either for one party to pay all or a portion of the other’s fees or payment from an asset, as justice requires.
(b) If the parties’ combined annual gross income is $100,000 or more, time beyond 5 hours shall be on a sliding scale hourly rate for the case, based on their combined gross incomes, as follows:
$ 100,000 – $ 199,999 $ 150 hour
$ 200,000 or more $ 200 hour
The hourly fee shall be a charge against the parties in a proportional amount, or paid from assets, as the court may determine. If one party earns substantially more than the other, it shall be presumed that either
the higher income party shall pay the entire fee or the fees will be allocated based on their respective incomes.
(c) Beyond the 5 hours, if the parties or either of them fail to appear for any session with the mediator, or cancel a mediation session less than 2 business days in advance, the mediator shall be paid for the scheduled time at the sliding scale rate for each party. The court may allot the responsibility for paying the mediator for fees for missed or cancelled sessions between the parties, as justice requires.
(8) Mileage. Upon the proper submission to the Administrative Office of the Courts mediators shall be reimbursed at a rate of 40 cents per mile round-trip for the first mediation appointment.
On June 9, 2010, the Attorney Discipline Office (ADO) filed an ex parte petition for immediate interim suspension of Attorney Paula J. Green from the practice of law and for other relief. In the petition, the ADO requested, inter alia, that Attorney Green immediately be suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire on an interim basis pending the outcome of its audit and completion of the attorney discipline process. Based on the information submitted by the ADO, including information provided by Attorney Green and the ADO auditor, the court finds that Attorney Green’s immediate suspension from the practice of law in New Hampshire is necessary to protect the public and to preserve the integrity of the legal profession. See Rule 37(16)(d) and (f). Accordingly, it is hereby ordered:
1. Attorney Paula J. Green is immediately suspended from the practice of law in New Hampshire on a temporary basis pending further order of this court. Attorney Green may show cause on or before ten days from the date of service why the temporary suspension should be lifted. See Reiner’s Case, 152 N.H. 163 (2005).
2. Attorney Green is enjoined from transferring, assigning, hypothecating, or in any manner disposing of or conveying any assets of clients, whether real, personal, beneficial or mixed; and
3. A copy of this order and of the Attorney Discipline Office’s filing shall be served on Attorney Green by first class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested. A copy of this order shall also be sent to counsel for Attorney Green and the Professional Conduct Committee by first class mail. On or before June 21, 2010, the Attorney Discipline Office shall advise the court whether an attorney should be appointed in accordance with Rule 37(17) to take possession of Attorney Green’s client files and trust accounts and to take such action as is necessary to protect the interest of her clients.
This order is entered by a single justice (Duggan, J.). See Rule 21(7).
DATE: June 10, 2010
ATTEST: Eileen Fox, Clerk