Historically, only 3-5% of civil cases filed in King County Superior Court proceed to trial. Some are disposed of on motion, some plaintiffs simply withdraw their complaint; most are resolved by settlement – often through mediation. While mediation offers a proven and effective means of resolving a dispute prior to trial, the later it occurs in the “life” of a case, the more costly the case – to the parties, both financially and in terms of diversion of time and effort, and to the Court, principally through the time devoted to motions practice.
On August 16, 2010 the King County Superior Court entered a General Order approving an “Early Mediation” Pilot Project. A copy of the Court’s order, the Court’s description of the project, the project’s procedures and the case schedule for pilot project cases are here: General Order, description, procedures and case schedule.
By the end of December 2010 the Court had designated approximately 1600 civil cases for the pilot program.
In cases designated for participation in the pilot project, the parties are required to file a “mediation plan” within 120 days after the case is filed. Although the deadline for completing early mediation under the case schedule applicable to such cases is 168 days before trial, the earlier a mediation occurs in the life of a case the greater the savings in time and money that the parties will experience.
I have prepared a sample “Agreed Mediation Plan” to use in this pilot project:
Agreed Mediation Plan