Superior Court Revises General Mediation Order to Establish System for Imposing Financial Penalties on Lawyers Who Fail to Comply with Certain Mediation Procedures
In April 2022, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia issued a revised General Mediation Order setting forth revised mediation procedures for all cases in the Court’s Civil Division. By way of background, cases in the Civil Division are routinely scheduled for mandatory mediation administered by the Court’s Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division.
The revisions to the General Mediation Order clarify and streamline the Court’s mediation procedures. However, the most significant revisions establish a system for imposing financial penalties on lawyers who fail to comply with certain procedures.
In particular, if a mediation session is cancelled because a lawyer does not timely submit a Confidential Settlement Statement and Mediation Readiness Certificate, as required by the General Mediation Order, the lawyer will be subject to an order requiring him to show cause why he should not be required to pay $100 to each other party in the case as compensation for delay and time incurred as a result of the cancelled mediation.
Additionally, if a lawyer is subject to sanctions more than once in a twelve-month period, the lawyer will be subject to an order requiring him to show cause why he should not be required to make a payment into the Court’s registry in the amount of $250, and increasing in increments of $250 for each subsequent violation, to compensate the Court for its time and expense incurred as a result of each cancelled mediation.
A lawyer may also be held personally liable for the mediator’s fee paid by the Multi-Door Dispute Resolution Division if the case settles but the lawyer fails to inform the Division at least forty-eight hours prior to the scheduled mediation.