Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can assist parties in their efforts to settle their claims without resorting to a trial. The District of Oregon has a variety of programs for litigants, as well as specific ADR requirements for cases filed in this District.
The Court's ADR program focuses primarily on settlement conferences with judges or mediations with Court-sponsored mediators. The Court's programs are described below.
Local Rule 16-4 sets forth the Court's ADR procedures. LR 16-4(c) and (d) require counsel for the parties to:
- Confer regarding the potential benefits of any private or court-sponsored ADR option within 120 days from the initiation of the suit (LR 16-4(c)); and
- File a Joint Alternative Dispute Resolution Report within 150 days of the initiation of the suit (LR 16-4(d)). Some cases are exempt from ADR requirements (LR 16-4(b)). This does not mean that such cases are inappropriate for ADR, only that the Court does not require litigants to follow the ADR procedures outlined above. Litigants may still opt to employ any of the ADR mechanisms described here. Upon the request of parties in any civil case, notwithstanding the exemptions in LR 16-4(b), the following ADR programs are available from the Court.
Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, there is no stay of action pending ADR processes. LR16-4(i).
Parties have a variety of ADR options under LR 16-4, including mediation, settlement conference, summary trial, arbitration, or any other form of ADR that appears likely to achieve resolution of the dispute. See LR 16-4(e).
Mediation is the most common form of ADR. Generally, if the judges refer parties to mediation, they will refer them to the panel list of Court-sponsored mediators. Members of the Court-Sponsored Mediator Panel have agreed to conduct mediation without cost to the parties for four hours, exclusive of preparation time and travel to or from the agreed location for the mediation, in two cases per year. If the parties do not settle the case within the four hours, the mediator and the parties may discuss whether to continue mediation and, if agreed, how much the mediator will be paid per hour.
Parties may request any of the following forms of mediation:
Private mediator or mediation service (see LR 16-4(e)(1))
The Court has a very small role if the parties elect to engage a private mediator. The Court performs its usual case management and scheduling functions in the case and relies on the parties to manage the settlement.
Mediation by a member of the Court-sponsored Mediator Panel (see LR 16-4(e)(3))
Pursuant to LR 16-4(j)(5), the Court maintains a list of Court-sponsored mediators, which includes mediator contact information and subject matter survey responses.
If the parties request a Court-sponsored mediator, the Court will enter an order directing the parties to select a mediator from the Court-sponsored Mediator Panel and to work with the mediator to agree to the time, place, and duration of the mediation. See LR 16-4(f)(2). After a mediator is selected, the parties and the mediator are to complete the Court’s standard Agreement to Mediate form.
Staff mediation (see LR 16-4(e)(3) and 16-4(f)(1))
The Court does not have a Staff Mediator at this time.