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What Goes Into a Mediation Submission?

December 3, 2019

The first steps to a successful mediation is a strong mediation submission. Lead with your best foot forward to ensure you have the right components for a successful mediation.

Former Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge, former United States Attorney, and current active mediator Patrick Fiedler has published a brief article in the Wisconsin Law Journal outlining the major elements that he suggests should be included in a pre-mediation submission document.

Statement of Facts

Focus on what is important, Fielder notes. Include a chronological narrative of relevant facts, prepared in the manner of your opening statement at trial. Consider what you want the mediator to concentrate on. Keep it brief.

Issues of Liability 

Include all viable causes of action and the elements of each. Don’t omit the defenses to each claim. Inform the mediator which party has the burden of proof, what it is, and if the burden shifts.

Damages

Fiedler advises counsel to envision a special verdict. Itemize the separate categories of damages. Provide documentation of all special damages to opposing counsel before mediation. If seeking attorney fees and costs, provide the specific legal basis.

Settlement Negotiations

Include all pre-mediation negotiations in your submission. List the date(s) on which any offers or counter-offers were made, by whom, the terms of the offer or counter-offer, etc.

Conclusion

Keep it brief. Include any information that will help the mediation get the case resolved. Fiedler reports that “[o]ne of the best submissions that I’ve received contained the statement, ‘The biggest impediment to reaching a resolution will not be the plaintiff but the plaintiff’s wife.’” He notes that this information was very helpful in ultimately settling the case. Note specifically if anyone other than the parties will attend the mediation and otherwise provide the mediator with a “lay of the land.” Finally, describe how the case got to mediation (court-ordered, suggested by counsel?).

Final Advice from Patrick Fielder

“Be candid!” The submission is confidential. Be as objective and constructive as you can.

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