In Ohio (and most other states), mediation is an informal, confidential, non-binding process (unless a settlement is reached). In the event of a resolution, a mediation report is generated, and the report serves as a binding agreement. The decision to mediate can occur prior or subsequent to the filing of a legal action. The parties can agree to the mediation, or a judge may order the parties to submit the matter to mediation. Certain states have statutory provisions regarding mediation.
In Ohio, mediation is governed by The Ohio Uniform Mediation Act, contained at §2710.01, et seq. of the Ohio Revised Code. Any attorney considering mediation should have a basic understanding of the Act.
The following summarizes the steps followed to facilitate the process.
1. The parties and/or their legal representatives agree to submit the matter to mediation, before a mediator of their choosing.
2. The parties and/or their legal representatives contact the individual chosen to mediate the case, with a request to initiate the process.
3. The office of the mediator co-ordinates schedules, and after the selection of a date, time, and place, the office of the mediator circulates a letter confirming the session, and setting forth certain requirements and guidelines. A sample letter is attached.
4. If resolution is reached, the mediator will have the parties and their legal representatives sign a mediation report setting forth the basic understanding. In most private mediations, the report does not become a matter of public record. In court-ordered mediations, depending on the jurisdiction, the report may be filed on the docket, unless the settlement is confidential.