Another new mediation program, another program requiring the mediator to also be an attorney: Plaintiff and defense lawyers are trying to gauge the overall impact of a new state mandate requiring mediation in medical malpractice cases.
So far, the apparent consensus is the new law may take smaller cases off the litigation track, but won't resolve big-ticket cases that require the opinions of experts and extensive discovery.
The provision, which became effective July 1, calls for the presiding judge in the judicial district where a med-mal case is filed to refer the matter to a 120-day period of mediation or to another form of alternative dispute resolution "before the close of the pleadings."
The first mediation session is to be conducted by the presiding judge, or another designated judge, not more than 20 business days after the initial referral. At the end of the one mandatory session, if the judge and parties don't agree the matter can be settled, and don't agree to continued mediation, "mandatory mediation under this section shall end."
But if the one-session mandatory phase fails, the parties may agree to keep trying, and the statute next calls for the presiding judge to refer the case for mediation.The judge is to make a referral to a Connecticut lawyer with at least five years of membership in the state bar.Plaintiffs and defense parties split mediation costs.
Admittedly, I have done no research on this but after reading the following quote:
"For the last 10 or 15 years, there has been a program of court-annexed mediation, in which cases are referred to judges with extensive medical malpractice experience," said Jaffe, who specifically cited Superior Court Judges Anthony Robaina, Terrence Zemetis and Jonathan Silbert.
I wonder what formal mediation training the judges have? Full article [here].