Judge Mark A. Schuering (Ret.) – Civil Mediation

 

Updated: September 2016

Judge Mark Schuering Civil Mediation

Mediation Guidelines

I.              MEDIATION SETTLEMENT LETTERS

A. Deadline and confidentiality

Counsel should submit their settlement letters and documentation to the mediator a minimum of 2-3 days before the scheduled mediation by regular mail or electronically by email

  All letters, materials, will be held strictly confidential by me

 Please inform me if counsel elects to exchange their mediation settlement letters with one another.   In that instance there would not be the need for strict confidentiality.  However, the mediation details would nevertheless remain confidential to outside sources

 Depositions or other materials may be forwarded electronically.  Senders will receive confirmation for each email by a return email

 

B. Contents of Mediation Submissions

 To insure an effective mediation, the form for Settlement Letters should include the following:  

 

First)                Case Status           (pre-suit; pre-discovery; pre-trial; impending trial; appeal)

Second)          Statement of Facts

Third)              Liability                   (Plaintiff & Defendant strengths or disadvantages)

Fourth)           Damages                (Plaintiff & Defendant strengths or disadvantages)

Fifth)               Depositions, reports, documents, photos

Sixth)              Plaintiff’s last demand

Seventh)       Defendant’s last offer

Eighth)           List and status of liens

Ninth)            Special Factors

 

 These are simply suggested Settlement Letter Guidelines. 

Counsel should modify the same for the specific nature of their case

 

 Submissions to the mediator are held in strict confidence & any and all copies will be shredded and/or deleted after the mediation has concluded

 

II.           PRECEPTS 

A. In 1924 United States Supreme Court Justice Benjamin M. Cardozo said -

            "Fulfillment may fall short of expectations"

B. Abraham Lincoln said in 1850 -

            "Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can.   Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a loser in fees, expenses and waste of time.

            As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good person"

C. Importance of Precepts?

            1. Never assume your case will be tried just as you expect it to happen

            2. Never assume the result will be just as you anticipate

            3. Taking settlement negotiations seriously is a sign of your serious concern for your client

            4. Even if settlement is not achieved, the mediation effort will be worthwhile

 

III.        WHEN 

Mediations are opportune

1.       pre-suit;

2.      pre-discovery;

3.      pre-trial;

4.     impending trial;

5.      post-trial/appeal

 

IV.         WHO

            A. Counsel responsible for trial shall appear in person with settlement authority

            B. Plaintiffs, defendants, claims adjusters should attend in person

            C. “Advisor", i.e., close family member or friend are encouraged to accompany parties   

            D. If your claims adjuster or principal is unable to attend in person, please re-schedule 

 

V.            WHERE

            A. Typically at a location agreed upon by Counsel, often at one of the attorney’s offices

                        

VI.         CONFERENCE PROCEDURE

A.   BRIEF INTRODUCTION  I will give a brief introduction, explaining the process and ground rules. Included among my comments will be the ground rules for the session.

B.   As a general rule counsel will not be asked to make an opening statement

C.   In instances where it may be useful and productive for counsel to make an opening statement or acknowledge a loss, please inform me ahead of time

D.  NON-BINDING  Unless otherwise agreed, this will be a non-binding mediation.  Offers, promises, conduct and statements, whether oral or written, made in the course of the non-binding mediation by any party , witness or mediator are confidential, privileged and inadmissible and shall not be used for any purpose, impeachment, nor disclosed to non-participants, except those associated with the parties

E.   ADJUSTORS PRESENCE  Claims adjusters should appear in person

F.    MEDIATION PROCESS  Mediation will as a rule employ the Facilitative method.  As counsel requests or circumstances dictate, use of other mediation techniques will be employed

Definitions of mediation methods:

     (1) Courier.  Neutral delivers, transports or conveys settlement demands and offers from   one side/party to the other

     (2) Facilitative Mediation.  Neutral facilitates resolution between parties without     expressing views or positions (absolutely neutral).  Includes creative or non-traditional    solutions

      (3) Evaluative Mediation.  Neutral provides the attorneys and parties an opinion on the    potential outcome(s) regarding the case.  This is largely based on the mediator's      experience, knowledge of legal issues, locale and training

      (4) Hybrid Mediation.  Combination of Facilitative and Evaluative mediation techniques

*Transformative Mediation.  Transformative techniques are regularly employed.  Aspects of transformative mediation include: (a) empowerment of parties; (b) recognition of the parties needs, values, point of view; (c) conferencing with all parties and their counsel together  

If a settlement is achieved, it must be an entirely voluntary resolution by all sides 

 

Keys to a successful mediation include consideration of the following:

 

First)               The Facts    

Second)          The Law        

Third)             Liability           

Fourth)           Damages

 

VII.      MEETING SEPARATELY WITH EACH PARTY

A.   At the mediation I will caucus (meet privately) with each side to explore settlement

B.  Confidential communications will not be disclosed unless authorized by counsel.

 C.  I will not be an advocate or agent for any party

VIII.    SETTLEMENT ACHIEVED

A. If the settlement is agreed upon, an appropriate record shall be made of that resolution

 

IX.         COSTS

Mediation costs are $200 per hour.     Mediation costs include file review and time spent conducting the mediation. The responsibility for payment rests with the attorneys and their law firms. Unless instructed otherwise, I will assume that counsel for each of the respective parties/sides will pay an equal portion of the fees and that this arrangement is satisfactory to you

Mileage for out-of-town travel is a flat .40-cents per mile in 2016.    The mileage charge is from my address in Quincy to the mediation location and back.  However, there are no hourly charges for any time simply spent in the car driving to the mediation

 

X.            CANCELLATIONS OR RESCHEDULING

If the mediation is cancelled at least three days in advance of the set date, fees will only be    charged for any pre-mediation time.  Simply re-scheduling for a new mediation date will not result in any increased expense for any attorney or party

 

XI.         CONFIDENTIALITY

 

Regardless of whether or not a Confidentiality Agreement is formally executed, I will treat the mediation as strictly confidential.  After the mediation is concluded, I delete or shred all documentation.  If a Confidentiality Agreement is requested, the parties may submit their preferred "form" for signature by all parties, attorneys and the mediator

 

 

XII.         IN A NUTSHELL

No case is so good that it can’t be lost

 

• No case is so bad that it can’t be won

 


 

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as the mediator in your case 

I will use my very best efforts to be efficient, economical and effective as I serve the parties and counsel to resolve their dispute

 

Mailing Address:

Judge Mark A. Schuering (Ret)
Civil Mediation
1652 York Street
Quincy, IL 62301

 

Mobile Phone #: (217) 257-6662

Email: judgemark@schueringmediation.com

 

Back-up Email:  judgemark.s@gmail.com

 

Emails will typically be responded to within 24 hours

 

Counsel should feel free to contact the mediator at any time to ask questions about the process or discuss particulars for an upcoming mediation.  Ex parte communication prohibitions do not apply to the mediation process