An Overview of Appellate Mediation in North Carolina
Mr. Hayes has participated in appellate mediation in the past and is always looking for ways to efficiently resolve matters for his clients. Appellate mediation can be an advantageous option for clients, since it reduces the costs associated with being involved in a traditional appeal. Not every matter is eligible for this mediation, however, and you should discuss with a licensed attorney whether appellate mediation is an option for your own case. Here is an overview of the appellate mediation process:
For almost twenty years, the North Carolina Court of Appeals has allowed eligible parties to participate in appellate mediation instead of appearing formally before the court in an appeal. For appellate cases in which mediation is an option, a “Consent to Appellate Mediation Form and Motion for 60-day Extension of Time” is delivered to counsel. If all parties consent to participate in appellate mediation and serve copies of their Consent Forms on one another, mediation occurs within that 60-day period. The parties must also consent to one of three kinds of mediators available in North Carolina to moderate and preside over their conference.
Prior to the date of the mediation, each party must provide its selected mediator with a Mediation Statement providing an overview of the case, the legal positions asserted, and any proposed settlements. Unlike the Consent Form, this condensed statement does not have to be served on the other parties, however each party should make clear to the mediator their statement is to remain confidential if this option is raised.
All individual parties and at least one their attorneys of record must attend the mediation conference in the Court of Appeals Building in Raleigh. In cases involving corporations, government entities, or insurance companies, there are special rules on who from those groups must attend the conference. Parties and their mediator may hold the conference in a location other than the Court of Appeals Building should they all so agree.
Within the mediation conference, there is an unwavering prohibition on stenographic, audio, or video recording made by any participant which cannot be set aside. Further, anything discussed during the conference will not become part of the record on appeal. These safeguards can become especially important if parties do not come to an agreement and the case advances before the Court of Appeals as if mediation did not occur.