The Case Mediation Program
The Case Mediation Program is sponsored by the Dane County Bar Association (DCBA). The program will accept only cases filed or eligible for filing in the Dane or Columbia County court system or in which at least one attorney in the case is a member of the Dane County Bar Association (DCBA). Parties are not required to retain legal counsel but it is highly recommended that they do so.
The program is aimed at helping parties resolve civil cases and family law cases (financial issues only) in the court system through voluntary or court ordered mediation. It is financed by user fees. The mediator must be a member of the Dane County or Columbia County Bar Association and may charge an agreed professional fee if the mediation session requires more than 3 or 4 hours of the mediator's time.
"MEDIATION" means a dispute resolution process in which a neutral third person, who has no power to impose a decision if all of the parties do not agree to settle the case, helps the parties reach an agreement by focusing on the key issues in a case, exchanging information between the parties and exploring options for settlement. [Section 802.12(1)(e), Wis. Stats.]
Once the parties have either agreed to participate or have been ordered to mediation, the Court or counsel shall submit a written order or request for mediation to the Program Administrator. That order or request should include the case caption, including the five-digit case information code or a brief description of the issues involved, the attorneys' or parties' names, firm names, addresses and telephone numbers, and any scheduling deadlines that may need to be considered.
The filing fee for mediation is $100.00 per party, payable to the "Case Mediation Program." A panel of mediators will not be issued until all parties have paid that filing fee. The fee requirement is not dependent on the success of the mediation process and is not refundable. Once the fees have been paid, the Administrator will offer a panel of three potential mediators. Requests for a specific individual mediator will not be considered. Counsel may select a mediator from the panel by agreement or by elimination. When the Administrator is notified as to the final selection, a letter and report form will be sent to that mediator. It is then the responsibility of the mediator and the parties to schedule the mediation session.
At least 3 business days prior to that session, counsel or litigants will provide the mediator with any summaries or documentation (including signed Financial Disclosure Statements in family law cases) requested by the mediator. It is the responsibility of the parties/attorneys to provide any materials or information they want the mediator to have. Original Court files will not be provided.
Agreement to Mediate
At or before the mediation session, all parties and their representatives will be asked to read and sign an Agreement to Mediate. The mediator tries to assist the parties in reaching a settlement but does not guarantee a resolution or take responsibility for the merits of any settlement. The resolution of the issues in these cases primarily rests upon the parties themselves. Agreements reached during the mediation by the parties are always voluntary. The Program does not require counsel for all parties, but participants must recognize that THE MEDIATOR DOES NOT REPRESENT ANY PARTY AND DOES NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE.
At the end of the mediation process the mediator will submit a written Report Form to the Administrator. A copy of the Report will be filed with the Court. The mediator may also draft a letter or memorandum of understanding setting forth any settlement but will not draft any final stipulations, orders or agreements. All agreements reached during any mediation session are subject to final drafting, signatures and approval by the parties and the Court. The entire mediation process will be considered "settlement negotiations" or "offers of compromise" for purposes of statutes relating to admissibility of "settlement" or "compromise" evidence in court. All information obtained in mediation is confidential and may not be divulged to anyone, except to the parties' respective attorneys and their agents, without specific consent. It is the responsibility of the parties and their attorneys to ensure that the mediator understands what information or communications may be disclosed to the other party(ies).
These forms are available here: