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Five Things to Know About Tenth Circuit Appellate Mediation

By Robyn Hagan Cain on August 25, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Here at FindLaw, we understand the pressures of being a legal professional - most of us are recovering lawyers - so we want to help by tossing you that preferred life preserver of the legal profession, the short list.

Today's topic: appellate mediation in the Tenth Circuit.

The Tenth Circuit Mediation Office, staffed by attorney-mediators, conducts mediation in civil appeals pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 33 and 10th Circuit Rule 33.1. The Court's mediation process provides confidential, risk-free opportunities for parties to resolve their disputes without the need of a further judicial decision. Here are a few things you should know about Tenth Circuit mediation.

  1. Is my appeal a mediation contender? Maybe. Most types of civil appeals are eligible for a settlement conference. Those that are not normally eligible include pro se, social security, prisoner rights, and habeas corpus appeals.
  2. How do I request mediation? You can either call or write the Tenth Circuit Mediation Office at any time during the pendency of the appeal. Appellate mediation requests may be kept private upon a party's request.
  3. How soon will I hear from the office? Appellants are required to file a docketing statement in which they state the issues raised on appeal and the case background within fourteen days of filing a notice of appeal. The Tenth Circuit Mediation Office schedules a case for a mediation conference from the docketing statement, usually before briefing and sometimes before the transcript is completed. Counsel will receive a Mediation Conference Notice, setting the date and time of the mediation conference, the purpose of the conference, and the expectations regarding settlement authority.
  4. Does mediation pause the appeals clock? Not automatically. However, the mediator may abate the preparation of the transcript or extend or abate the appellate briefing schedule in order to accommodate the appellate mediation process.
  5. How do mediation sessions work? Generally, mediation consists of a series of informal, conversational telephone discussions to explore settlement possibilities. The discussions may also clarify issues and resolve procedural problems. The mediator will conduct joint and separate mediation sessions before shifting to settlement discussions. The mediator will help the parties evaluate their appeal risks as well as determine whether there are obstacles or avenues to resolution.

For more information on appellate mediation in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, visit the court's website.

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