Coronavirus | Precautions for Mediation
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is an integral part of virtually all California civil lawsuits. ADR encompasses mediation, arbitration, court settlement conferences and neutral case evaluation. Less than 3% of civil lawsuits proceed to an actual trial.
So, mediation of a civil lawsuit is common. The common mediation scenario starts at the mediator’s office. The parties to the lawsuit are assigned different meeting rooms. Some mediators start the mediation with an introduction that gathers the parties together in the same room.
Now, you see where we’re going.
Given the current heightened concerns over the high contagion factor of COVID-19, two leading California mediation groups have issued outbreak advisories for mediation participants. Signature Resolution, a leading Los Angeles based dispute resolution provider, issued a March 10, 2020 memo to its clients and attorneys identifying the safety precautions that Signature is taking to protect mediation participants.
Alcohol-based sanitizers, disinfectant screen wipes, frequent cleaning of touched surfaces, stay home instructions for staff if feeling ill, and recommended frequent hand washing are suggested precautionary measures. Signature also has the capacity “to conduct their hearings and meetings through Zoom, a highly secure video conferencing platform.” They advise participants that if they are not feeling well or prefer to work remotely, the Signature case management team will assist in setting up the video conferencing to conduct business.
Signature also suggests that participants visit the CDC website for additional information. Another leading ADR group, JAMS, published its proactive steps in protecting the health of its employees and visitors to its resolution centers. They are similar to those published by Signature. JAMS also makes video conferencing and other technology available.
JAMS also notes: “We have urged our neutrals and associates not to come into a Resolution Center while they are experiencing respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue. We request the same of all visitors.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100 degrees F or 37.8 degrees C) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.”
Given Hackard Law’s focus on estate, trust, and elder financial abuse litigation we frequently attend and participate in mediation and both voluntary and mandatory settlement conferences. We appreciate that some of the leading alternative dispute resolution providers are proactive in protecting their staff and visitors who are engaged in the process of resolving cases.
At Hackard Law we continue to civilly prosecute estate, trust and elder financial abuse cases. When it comes to the leading ADR providers, we are confident that multi-pronged processes are in place to help mediation participants find an alternative, if desired, to the gathering of a large group of people at a mediator’s office.
Hackard Law represents trust beneficiaries and estate heirs throughout California, including in Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa and Sacramento counties. You can call us today at 916-313-3030. Stay healthy out there, and thank you for listening.