18 Mar Virginia Mediation: Court-Facilitated – a Lawyer’s Requirement
Pre-trial mediation has enjoyed such success and popularity that increasingly Virginia circuit courts are requiring litigants to submit to it shortly before trial. In Newport News, Hampton, York County and other venues in Hampton Roads, parties must mediate vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and many other cases.
The format of court-facilitated mediation is the same as that of private mediation. The main difference is that the court provides the mediator, who always is a retired Virginia circuit court judge, at its own expense – a real saving to the parties.
Across Virginia, the success rate of court-facilitated mediation apparently is around 70%. On the Peninsula, some of the more popular mediators boast success rates of 85%+.
Federal courts in Virginia also are mandating mediation in personal injury, employment, and other civil cases. Federal magistrates, current and senior, routinely serve as mediators there.
Circuit court mediators tend not to be as successful in resolving vehicle accident, medical malpractice, and other personal injury or wrongful death cases involving substantial injuries and damages; which the parties themselves commonly take to private mediation, except in “no offer” cases. But court-facilitated mediation shines in resolving the small and moderate size vehicle accident cases, with them usually settling within an hour or two (or not at all).