Most citizens think of cases filed in our courts as coming to a close only after long and bitterly fought trials. After all, that is what they read in newspapers and see on television. However, the truth is that most cases filed in our Stateís civil Superior Courts are never actually heard by a judge or jury. Instead, they settle on the partiesí own terms. Too frequently, that settlement occurs on the courthouse steps -- just before the trial is set to begin and the plaintiff and defendant have endured a long, sleepless night or nights. The Mediated Settlement Conference Program is designed to offer parties, with the help of their attorneys and a mediator, an opportunity and the support they need to settle their cases earlier. During a mediated settlement conference the parties, their attorneys, and a mediator are required to sit down together to discuss the matters in dispute and to try and resolve them. The conference will typically occur relatively early in the litigation process, but after parties have had time to conduct discovery and learn about the case. The mediator is not a judge or arbitrator and will not tell the parties how to resolve their dispute. Instead, the mediator facilitates the meeting and acts as a coach and referee. It is the mediatorís job to keep the discussion focused and constructive with the goal of helping the parties arrive at their own terms for settlement. If the parties are able to resolve their dispute themselves, then an agreement will be drafted and their case will be dismissed. Then . . . the parties can get on with their lives.
Mediated Settlement Conference (MSC) contact:
Lori Cole, (919) 890-1207, email: Lori.C.Cole@nccourts.org