Wayne County court to expand mediation program

Effective May 1, Wayne County Circuit Court is expanding its mediation pilot program in which the aggregate claims evaluate for an amount of $25,000 or less.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Patricia P. Fresard presides over the Civil Division and spearheaded the pilot in the fall of 2016. The program has been successful in helping parties reach settlement without the use of judicial resources after case evaluation. The cases are ordered to mandatory mediation by the participating judges when they do not settle in their entirety after case evaluation.

Cases ordered to mediation under this plan will be referred to the Mediation Tribunal Association (MTA), which will select a mediator in random rotation from the list of court-approved general civil mediators and agencies. Additionally, the Wayne Mediation Center has been selected to provide mediation on a sliding-fee scale for those parties that qualify for a reduction or waiver of fees.

Mediation is often beneficial because:

1. About 65% of all mediations end in agreement, even when other attempts to settle have failed.

2. Cases mediated early may avoid additional litigation costs. Mediation may result in settlement far quicker than waiting until near trial to settle.

3. Mediation provides a comfortable, safe, and respectful setting for discussion.

Fresard and Judge Leslie Kim Smith were the first participating judges. With the expansion to the Business Court judges, Judge Edward Ewell, Judge Lita M. Popke, and Business Court Presiding Judge
Brian Sullivan joined the pilot. The program affords parties an opportunity to resolve their disputes in a less costly and more expeditiously way.

For additional information, contact Lisa Timmons, the director at the Mediation Tribunal Association, at 313-224-5606 or lisa.timmons@3rdcc.org.

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