Definition: Mediation is a process under which an impartial person, the Mediator, facilitates communication between the parties to promote reconciliation, settlement or understanding among them. The Mediator may suggest ways of resolving the dispute, but may not impose his own judgment on the issues for that of the parties. The Mediator shall act as an advocate for resolution and shall use her best efforts to assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement. While no one is asked to commit to an intention to settle or to actually settling, the parties are committing to participate in the proceedings in good faith.
Parties are in Control. The Mediator will not and cannot impose a settlement, and the parties must agree that they are responsible for negotiating a settlement acceptable to them. The parties understand and agree that the Mediator is not acting as an advocate for any party and each party states they have not relied upon legal advice or counsel from the Mediator in entering into the settlement agreement. The Mediator does not warrant or represent that settlement will result from the mediation process
Conditions Precedent to Serving as Mediator. The Mediator shall not serve as a mediator in any dispute in which she has any financial or personal interest in the result of the mediation. The Mediator’s fee is not related to the results of the mediation. Prior to accepting a case for mediation, the Mediator shall disclose any circumstance likely to create a presumption of bias or prevent a prompt meeting with the parties.
Authority of Mediator. The Mediator does not have the authority to decide any issue for the parties, but will attempt to facilitate the voluntary resolution of the dispute by the parties. The Mediator may suggest options or ideas to the parties, but those suggestions are not binding, and are intended to give open ideas and discussions among the parties. The Mediator is authorized to conduct joint and separate meetings with the parties and to offer suggestions to assist the parties achieve settlement.
Authority of Representatives. PARTY REPRESENTATIVES MUST HAVE AUTHORITY TO SETTLE, AND ALL PERSONS NECESSARY TO THE DECISION TO SETTLE SHALL BE PRESENT. At the request of the Mediator, the names and addresses of such persons shall be communicated in writing to all parties and to the Mediator. A representative may only appear by phone or computer with specific agreement and consent of the Mediator.
Time and Place of Mediation. The Mediator shall fix the time of each mediation session. The mediation shall be held at any convenient location agreeable to the Mediator and the parties, as the Mediator shall determine.
Identification of Matters in Dispute. Prior to the first scheduled mediation session, each party shall provide the Mediator with a completed information sheet, and/or a Confidential Summary setting forth its position with regard to the issues that need to be resolved.
Privacy. Mediation sessions are private. Only the parties and their representatives may attend mediation sessions. Third parties not only risk the protection of privacy, but also often interfere in the negotiation process. Other persons may attend only with the permission of the parties and with the consent of the Mediator.
Confidentiality. Confidential information disclosed to a Mediator by the parties or by witnesses in the course of the mediation shall not be divulged by the Mediator to anyone, including to a judge presiding over the case. All records, reports or other documents received by a mediator while serving in that capacity shall be confidential. The Mediator shall not be compelled to divulge such record or to testify in regard to the mediation in any adversary proceeding or judicial forum. Any party that violates this agreement shall pay all fees and expenses of the Mediator and other parties, including reasonable attorney's fees, incurred in opposing the efforts to compel testimony or records from the Mediator. The parties shall maintain the confidentiality of the mediation and shall not rely on, nor introduce as evidence in any arbitral, judicial or other proceeding: (a) views expressed or suggestions made by another party with respect to a possible settlement of the dispute; (b) admissions made by another party in the course of the mediation proceedings; (c) proposals made or views expressed by the Mediator; or (d) t fact that another party had or had not indicated willingness to accept a proposal for settlement made by the Mediator.
AN EXCEPTION TO THE CONFIDENTIALITY PRIVILEGE IS TEXAS LAW WHICH REQUIRES THAT ABUSE OF CHILDREN, THE ELDERLY AND THE DISABLED MUST BE REPORTED. ADDITIONALLY, WHEN THE MEDIATOR HAS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION CLEARLY ESTABLISHING THAT AN INDIVIDUAL IS LIKELY TO COMMIT A CRIMINAL OR FRAUDULENT ACT THAT IS LIKELY TO RESULT IN DEATH OR SUBSTANTIAL BODILY HARM, THE MEDIATOR SHALL REVEAL CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION TO THE EXTENT REVELATION REASONABLY APPEARS NECESSARY TO PREVENT THE INDIVIDUAL FROM COMMITTING THE CRIMINAL OR FRAUDULENT ACT.
No Record. There shall be no stenographic record of the mediation process and no person shall tape record any portion of the mediation session. This includes recordings made by cell or smart phones.
Termination of Mediation. The mediation shall be terminated: (a) by the execution of a settlement agreement by the parties; or (b) by declaration of the Mediator to the effect that further efforts at mediation are no longer worthwhile.
Fees and Expenses. The Mediator's daily fee shall be agreed upon prior to mediation and shall be paid in advance of the mediation.
Exclusion of Liability.The Mediator is not a necessary or proper party in judicial proceedings relating to the Mediation. Mediator shall not be liable to any party for any act or omission in connection with any mediation conducted under these rules.
Big Bend Dispute Resolution Services
RATES (effective 2018):
$730.00 per party for disputes up to $500,000 in controversy;
$1000.00 per party for disputes over $500,000 in controversy.
Family Law Cases:
$700.00 per party for in-person mediations
$650.00 per party for virtual mediations
Rates include the following:*
*rates assume mediation for one full day, with two or three parties, within the counties of Brewster, Jeff Davis, Presidio, Culberson, Pecos, or Reeves. Rates may vary, based upon individual cases, and distance of travel.
Cancellation Policy: No fee is charged for cancellations made at least two business days prior to the scheduled mediation. A fee of $50.00 is charged for cancellations made with fewer than two-days notice.