NC Mediated Solutions

Services

Neutral Services 


 
Non-zero-sum describes an economic situation in which the parties’ aggregate gains and losses ‘[do] not add up to zero and represents a possibility where everyone can win... this refers to the situation when an individual’s gain is not offset by another individual’s loss.’
— TheLawDictionary.org (Black's Law Dictionary)
 

 

Opportunities for Collaboration in Resolution

 

N C Mediated Solutions encourages collaboration and alternative dispute resolution, recognizing the particular limitations of litigation in certain cases.

 

“Litigation can be especially harmful when it is between persons who…enjoyed some kind of meaningful, positive personal relationship…these kinds of disputes involve, as Judge Braxton Craven was fond of saying, “people problems,” not “legal problems.” When we are dealing primarily with people’s problems, the courtroom does not have nearly the resolving power of other, less structured, dispute settling devices. Litigation in these cases is frequently a severe obstacle to reconciliation between the parties.”

-N. C. Supreme Court Chief Justice James G. Exum, Jr.-

                        (From Portrait Presentation of James G. Exum, Jr., by J. Anderson LittleN.C. State Bar Journal, Spring 2016)

 

Our Rules offer broad opportunities to design alternative resolution procedures to meet the particular needs of a case. Mediation is always a first consideration; however, each procedure can be readily adapted to particular process and scheduling needs. Early neutral services can facilitate discovery, narrow issues, advance negotiations, and open doors to resolution, whether in part or whole, temporary or permanent.

A broad range of settlement services, described below, are available and adaptable to address any conflict.  For further inquiry or scheduling please communicate your interests through the Contact page. Initial conferencing is without charge.

 

Neutral Locations and Rates

 

Mediated Solutions encourages consideration of neutral locations for conducting settlement procedures; however attorney offices represent the most common venue. Excellent opportunities for convenient and pleasant venues are available for counsel and parties.  Established neutral sites are identified below, other exceptional venues can be made available upon request. Settlement procedures may be scheduled at counsel's office or any agreed neutral site.

The Carolina Club on the U.N.C. Campus,  a convenient neutral site for mediation and neutral evaluations, is available for mediation sessions. Identical and nicely appointed conference rooms in the UNC Alumni Center each accommodate four. This site may work well for parties appearing without counsel, whether represented with counsel on stand by, or self-represented.

The Paul Rizzo Conference Center, with unequaled meeting and conference facilities, is available for more involved procedures, including mediation, neutral evaluation, arbitration, or summary trial. Parking, morning and afternoon refreshment bars, and lunch at the Center's Dubose Restaurant are included in rates. This site is ideal for more complex cases with counsel and others accompanying the parties. Conferencing facilities include spacious interior and exterior common spaces and well appointed , large conference rooms. Additional participants may subject a party to additional facility fees.

Confirmed Reservations:  2018 Scheduling is initially reserved by email contact from a party or counsel and secured by email confirmation among all participants addressing location, date, session length, parties, contractual terms, and facility fees, if applicable. There is no charge for initial telephone or personal conferencing through confirmation.

Rates: 2018 Services provided are billable at hourly rates and a one-time administrative fee equal to the following hourly rates:   Structured Neutral Evaluation: $150, Mediation: $ 175, Arbitration/Summary Trial: $200. Terms:  There is no charge for travel in Greater Triangle counties. Payment is due upon the conclusion of the each session, or as agreed. Cancellations reported less than 30 days in advance of confirmed reservation are subject to cancellation fee equal to and in addition to the administrative fee.

     


North Carolina settlement procedures are explicitly identified by our Supreme Court Rules, as well as our Family Law Arbitration Act, and are set forth in detail below. Mediated Solutions encourages consideration of each of the procedures to determine "the dispute settling device" that best addresses the parties' particular needs.


 
 

MEDIATION

Under North Carolina law, mediation is recognized in enabling legislation, NCGS Section 7A-38.1(a) “to facilitate the settlement of …civil actions and to make litigation more economical, efficient, and satisfactory to litigants and the State.”  In NCGS Section 7A-38.1(b) (2) legislation states: “‘Mediation’ means an informal process conducted by a mediator with the objective of helping parties voluntarily settle their dispute.” A “mediator” is defined as “a neutral person who acts to encourage and facilitate a resolution of a pending civil action. A mediator does not make an award or render a judgment as to the merits of the action.” North Carolina Supreme Court Revised Rules enunciate rules of court ordered mediation.


NEUTRAL EVALUATION

Rule 10 of the North Carolina Supreme Court Revised Rules recognizes an additional settlement procedure: “Neutral evaluation in which a neutral offers an advisory evaluation of the case following summary presentations by each party.” This alternative is fully defined in Rule 11 (A).

“NATURE OF NEUTRAL EVALUATION. Neutral evaluation is an informal, abbreviated presentation of facts and issues by the parties to an evaluator at an early stage of the case. The neutral evaluator is responsible for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the case, providing candid assessment of liability, settlement value and a dollar value or range of potential awards if the case proceeds to trial. The evaluator is also responsible for identifying areas of agreement and disagreement and suggesting necessary and appropriate discovery.” Rule 11 provides a general structure for this process, and Rule 11 (H) allows the neutral evaluator to assist the parties in settlement negotiations upon consent.

See also The Family Law Arbitration Act, NCGS 50-41 et seq. Note: Family Financial Settlements are authorized under NCGS 7A-38.4A and Supreme Court Rules comparable but not identical to those implemented for Superior Court matters (above).

 

 


ARBITRATION 

Under Rule 10 of the North Carolina Supreme Court Revised Rules arbitration is identified  as an alternative settlement procedure, described generally as “Non-binding arbitration, in which a neutral renders and advisory decision following summary presentations of the case and binding arbitration , in which a neutral renders a binding decision following presentations by the parties…..” Rule 12 provides structure to the arbitration process, generally allowing for less formal rules for evidence and hearing, and expressly recognizing that “parties may agree to modify these rules….” Arbitration, also authorized under The Family Law Arbirtation Act  may be a condition imposed by contract.


SUMMARY TRIAL

Rules 10 and 13 of the North Carolina Supreme Court Revised Rules provide for summary trials, arguably the alternative dispute process that most closely simulates litigation experience and outcomes. This alternative can be designed with a jury (privately procured) or a presiding officer (bench trial) and may by agreement provide for binding or non-binding verdicts.

“In a summary bench trial, evidence is presented in a summary fashion to a presiding officer, who shall render a verdict. In a summary jury trial, evidence is presented in a summary fashion to a privately procured jury, which shall render a verdict. The goal of summary trials is to obtain an accurate prediction of the ultimate verdict of a full civil trial as an aid to the parties and their settlement efforts.” Rule 13.

The provisions of Rule 13 allow the parties great latitude in fashioning the summary trial process to their needs. Scheduling, discovery, evidence motions, presentation of live versus recorded testimony, and inclusion of high/low agreements may be incorporated into the procedure by the parties’ agreement.