Local Rule 15. Mediation
15 PRIVATE COMPLAINT MEDIATION SERVICE (PCMS)
1. General. Upon order of the court, an action may be submitted to the court’s Private Complaint Mediation Service for mediation as provided in this rule. By participating in mediation, a non-party participant, as defined by Ohio Revised Code Section 2710.01(D), submits to the court’s jurisdiction to the extent necessary for enforcement of this rule. Any non-party participant shall have the rights and duties under this rule as are attributed to parties, except that no evidence privilege shall be expanded. In a criminal case, the persons injured or victimized by the alleged commission of the criminal act become non-party participants by participating in the mediation.
2. Civil Cases. All civil cases may be referred to mediation. Before the initial pre-trial conference in a case, counsel shall discuss the appropriateness of mediation in the litigation with their clients and with opposing counsel. At the initial pre-trial conference the parties and counsel shall advise the court of the results of their discussions concerning mediation. At that time and at subsequent conferences, if necessary, the court may explore with the parties and counsel the possibility of using mediation. A party opposed to the referral must file a written objection with the court within seven days of receiving notice of the referral and explain the reasons for any opposition. No mediation shall occur until the court rules on the objection.
3. Criminal Cases. A criminal case may be referred to mediation with the consent of the defendant, the prosecutor and the person(s) injured or victimized by the alleged commission of the criminal offense. Mediation shall not be used as an alternative to the prosecution or adjudication of domestic violence, to determine whether to grant, modify or terminate a protection order, to determine the terms and conditions of a protection order, or to determine the penalty for violation of a protection order.
4. Continuances. Continuances shall be granted only for good cause shown and after a mutually acceptable future date has been determined.
5. No Stay of Proceedings. All existing court orders shall remain in effect. No order is stayed or suspended because the case is in mediation. Mediation shall not stay discovery unless agreed upon by the parties and approved by the court.
6. Mediation Privilege. Mediation communications are privileged as described in Ohio Revised Code 2710.03-2710.05. If the parties wish mediation communication to be confidential they will effect a written confidentiality agreement prior to mediation.
7. Mediator’s Duty. The mediator shall inform the court who attended the mediation, whether the case settled, and whether efforts to settle the case through mediation are being continued or if the case is being returned to the court for further proceedings. No other information shall be directly or indirectly communicated by the mediator to the court, unless all who hold a mediation privilege, including the mediator, have consented to such disclosure. The mediator shall keep mediation communications confidential, unless all who hold a mediation privilege, including the mediator, have consented to such disclosure.
8. Duties of Attorneys/Parties. In civil cases trial counsel, all parties and, if applicable, the principal insurance adjuster(s), all with authority to settle, shall personally attend all mediation sessions prepared to discuss all relevant issues, including settlement terms. If counsel or any mediation party becomes aware of the identity of a person or entity whose consent is required to resolve the dispute, but who has not yet been joined as a party in the pleadings, they shall promptly inform the mediator as well as the assigned judge of such fact. A party who is not a natural person must be represented by a person other than trial counsel. In criminal cases, the prosecutor and defense counsel may, but are not required, to attend and may designate a non-attorney to attend in their stead, unless the defendant executes a written waiver of counsel in which case neither the prosecutor nor any defense attorney will attend the mediation.
All parties and counsel shall advise the assigned judge or magistrate of any domestic violence which they have reason to believe has occurred, or of any domestic violence allegations known to them to exist or to have existed in the past, or which become known to them following entry of the mediation referral, involving any two or more opposing parties. If the mediation proceedings have begun, such parties and counsel shall also disclose such information to the mediation staff.
9. Sanctions. In civil cases, if any person required to attend mediation shall fail to do so without good cause, the court may impose sanctions, including the award of attorney’s fees and other costs, contempt or other appropriate sanctions.
10. No Advice. The efforts of the mediator shall not be construed as giving legal advice. The court may have materials for legal or other support services available in the community. The mediator is authorized to provide such resource information; however, such distribution shall not be construed as a recommendation of or referral to such resource. The recipient of that information is charged with the duty to evaluate those resources independently.
11. Dismissal. If the parties fail to dismiss a settled civil case within the later of sixty (60) days or the time noted in the written communication that gave the court notice of the settlement, then the court may dismiss the case with prejudice, retaining jurisdiction to enforce the agreement reached by the parties. Upon such dismissal, court costs shall be paid from the funds deposited.
12. Complaint procedure. Written comments and/or complaints regarding performance of a mediator to which a Municipal Court case has been referred shall be sent to the Assistant Court Administrator for consideration. The Assistant Court Administrator will consider the comment/complaint and either: 1) Formulate a response to the comment/complaint, or; 2) Forward the comment/complaint to the administrative judge of the court for consideration and appropriate action. Subsequently, the party who filed the comment/complaint shall be notified of a disposition and a copy of the comment/complaint and response shall be placed in the file of the mediator.
Local Rule 16. NOTICE TO VICTIMS
Pursuant to Ohio Criminal Procedure Rule 37, the Hamilton County Municipal Court hereby designates the Hamilton County Prosecutor and the Cincinnati City Solicitor, respectively, as the entity to provide all notices as required by the Constitution of the State of Ohio, Article I, Section 10a.