Mediation is a voluntary process where an impartial third party assists parties in resolving a dispute. Mediators do not make binding decisions, but rather help the parties create their own resolution. They have an objective view of the dispute and can help explore alternative resolutions and achieve a mutually beneficial settlement.
Who are the mediators?
The mediators involved in the Mediation Pilot Program are individuals with demonstrated ability in the areas of land use and zoning law along with a general understanding of the wireless industry. Mediators must have a minimum of three years of professional experience, or affiliation with and accountability to a dispute resolution organization in existence for at least three years, or present or past appointment to mediate or conciliate by a judicial or governmental body.
Can I use mediation if my case is pending in court?
Yes, if the litigating parties and/or the court agree that mediation is appropriate, the court may grant a motion to stay pending mediation. Early scheduling of mediation, however, can eliminate litigation time and expenses.
(Note: If applicable, please submit a copy of motion(s) for stay pending mediation to OCABR)
Is mediation binding?
No. A mediator does not have the authority to make a binding decision, but rather assists the parties to arrive at their own resolution, allowing the parties to retain control over the outcome of the dispute.
Is the settlement enforceable?
Yes. Though mediation is non-binding, a signed settlement agreement has the same legal status as any other contract. The process of mediation also enhances the likelihood of the parties continuing their business relationship.
Is mediation confidential?
Yes. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 233, section 23C provides that work and communications that take place relative to mediation are confidential.
How much does mediation cost?
The mediation will take place on a "fee for service" basis where participants will pay mediators directly. The fee for service of the mediator will be based on a four-hour time period including preparation, actual mediation session and the preparation of an agreement document or execution of a typed-written, non-binding determination (if parties request this).
If the mediator determines that additional mediation time is necessary, the mediator may extend the mediation process with the agreement of the parties. The mediator is authorized to charge an additional per hour fee if the mediation process extends beyond four hours. The additional fee will be shared equally by the parties and paid directly to the mediator. Mediation is generally less costly than litigation.
Where will the mediation session(s) take place?
All mediation hearings must take place in a neutral location within a 50-mile radius of the property in dispute, unless the parties agree otherwise. The parties, subject to mediator agreement, will decide on the location.
May the parties select an expert?
Subject to the agreement of the parties, the mediatior may select an appropriate expert based on the needs and specific matters in dispute. Experts will be compensated directly by the parties, who will share the cost equally.