MEDIATION INFORMATION

Scheduling a Mediation

To schedule a mediation, please click HERE to view available dates.  Once the parties have agreed on several potential dates that show Green on the calendar, please call or email Shante Stitt to reserve a date for mediation and send us (1) the full names of all parties; (2) contact information for all counsel; and (3) how the parties have agreed to share the mediation fee. We will send all counsel an email confirming the reserved date and will provide information about the mediation, due dates for briefs, and an invoice.

Mediation Fee & Cancellation Policy

The mediation fee is due two weeks from the date the confirming email is sent to all counsel. The fee is fully refundable if the mediation is cancelled or rescheduled at least four weeks prior to the scheduled date. If the mediation is cancelled or rescheduled less than thirty days before the mediation date, the fee will not be refunded unless we are able to schedule another mediation on that date (we often can find a replacement for a cancellation if given enough notice).

Schedule of Fees: Single Plaintiff Class Action/Multiple Plaintiff/PAGA
Oakland/Zoom Videoconference $14,000 $18,000
Sacramento $14,000 $18,000
Los Angeles $16,000 $20,000

The mediation fee includes all preparation time, a full-day mediation, and reasonable follow-up. If the mediation requires more than reasonable follow-up, time will be charged to the parties at the rate of $800/hour. The fee also includes time and travel costs for mediations outside of Oakland.

Mediation Statements

When Due:

Mediation statements are due one week before the mediation. We have gone paperless!  Please email all mediation statements to Tripper@Ortmanmediation.com and Shante@Ortmanmediation.com

Preparation for Mediation – Sharing Mediation Statements and Draft Memorandum of Understanding 

The most important thing the parties can do to promote resolution of their case is to spend time assessing their positions and discussing their expectations with counsel before the mediation date. Superior preparation includes trying to gain an understanding of the other party’s perspective on the facts and law of the case. That is why I strongly encourage the parties to exchange mediation statements before the mediation date. I also ask that the parties exchange/work on a draft Memorandum of Understanding at least one week before mediation. If the parties are able to work out some/all of the deal terms before we get to mediation, the end of our day will be much more productive.

If there is something that you would like to submit confidentially to the mediator – whether it relates to yet undiscovered evidence, trial strategies, or unique factors that may impact the parties’ ability to get a resolution — I ask that you do so in a separate, supplemental letter or brief containing only that information. The mediator will not share this information until/unless the party gives their approval to do so during the mediation.

Preparation for Mediation – Demands, Exposure Analyses, Budget and Memorandum of Understanding

It is not the mediator’s assumption that there will be liability to either party when mediating a case. Many claims are resolved on summary judgment and others are defensed at trial – those are risks that the parties should recognize and take into consideration when making any demand.

While I do not assume liability, I do encourage both parties to prepare a confidential exposure analysis for their use before and during the mediation. This confidential analysis should assume liability on the claims pleaded only for purposes of mediation, and should consider the extent of potential recovery on each claim. In addition, I strongly recommend that each party prepare a budget estimate for the time and cost that you predict will be associated with the pursuit and/or defense of the case. These analyses often prove invaluable to the parties as they consider how much a resolution may be worth.

Finally, the preparation and exchange of a draft Memorandum of Understanding before mediation will help the parties conclude their day much more efficiently once we have a deal.  There is nothing worse than getting an agreement on the monetary amount at 4pm and executing a MOU at 7pm because the parties had not done this work before mediation.

Contents of Statement:

Remember the K.I.S.S. writing method? Judges and mediators prefer that you keep it simple as well. Let me know what happened, describe the evidence supporting that version of events, how the evidence will be applied to the law at issue, what your expectations are for the outcome of mediation AND, what you believe the outcome would be if the case were litigated, including estimates of each party’s chances for success on the merits.

If you have evidence in the form of documents, witness statements or deposition testimony, please attach them as exhibits to your statement. If there is some portion of the testimony or evidence that you believe is particularly important, please highlight that on the exhibits themselves. You can assume that I am knowledgeable about employment law principles generally and that an overview of those principles and the standard for summary judgment is unnecessary, but if there is a unique dispute, some new legal development, or if your matter is not an employment matter, a brief discussion is helpful. If the legal issues fall outside the broad scope of common employment law claims, you should provide additional discussion of the law at issue.

A description of settlement discussions to date is also helpful.

Length:

Mediation statements should not exceed 10-12 pages (excluding exhibits) except in very unusual circumstances. The more disciplined you are in thinking about and describing the issues in dispute, the easier and more likely it will be that we can reach a resolution at mediation.

Joint Sessions:

I do not normally hold joint sessions, but if either party believes that it would be helpful, I am happy to conduct a joint session. The parties and counsel should be prepared for me to ask counsel to join me in private to discuss the legal issues and/or impediments to settlement if necessary to the process.

Conference Rooms

I have two offices, one in Oakland, one in Sacramento. In Oakland I have two conference rooms that can accommodate 6-8 people and a small break-out room that can accommodate 3 people. In Sacramento I have three conference rooms, one of which can accommodate up to 18 people. If any of the parties will have more than 8 people in attendance in Oakland, please contact Shante, so that we can discuss making alternative arrangements.