The Thirteenth Judicial District Court provides an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program as an option to traditional litigation in civil lawsuits. Both mediation and settlement facilitation are part of the ADR cooperative problem solving processes where a neutral third party meets with the parties involved in the cases to identify areas of agreement and disagreement and to assist them in reaching a resolution that meets their needs and interests. Parties may choose mediation or settlement facilitation.
The purpose of the Thirteenth Judicial District Court ADR program is to serve the larger community by providing quality mediation and settlement facilitation services to ensure an efficient, cost-effective, and satisfying process to resolve a variety of legal disputes throughout Cibola, Valencia and Sandoval Counties.
The goals of the program are to:
- Provide parties with a satisfying alternative to litigation.
- Provide consistent, high quality mediation (ADR) services.
- Reduce court and litigant costs.
- Reduce the time to disposition.
- Reduce the demand on judges for settlement assistance.
Mediation is a traditional “problem-solving” process conducted by trained, experienced mediators who may, but are not required to be, attorneys. This facilitative process focuses on clarifying positions and identifying the interests and unmet needs of the parties, often with the goal to preserve the relationship as well as resolve the case.
Settlement facilitation is an evaluative process, typically conducted by attorneys with subject knowledge who are also trained and experienced in mediation techniques. The process focuses on positions and interests. The settlement facilitator assists the parties in negotiating their own settlement but may evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
Any party to any civil case, including domestic and probate (CV, DM, PB) cases, may request that the case be referred to either mediation or settlement facilitation through the Court’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program (ADR) in accordance with the local rules. A judge may also refer a case to ADR without the request of a party. You do not have to be represented by an attorney to request a referral to ADR. ADR is conducted by attorneys or other professionals as agreed upon by the parties or ordered by the Court.
Selection of and Compensation of Neutrals The parties may choose a mediator or settlement facilitator from a list maintained by the Court, or, the parties may present to the Court a stipulated motion requesting any licensed attorney or other qualified person to provide ADR services.
If selected from the Court maintained list, a fee of $500 for up to four(4) hours of ADR shall be equally assessed among the parties. At the discretion of the Court, the fee may be paid by the Court.
If matters are not resolved within the four (4) hour time period, the parties may negotiate with the neutral to provide further services for a fee that is mutually agreeable among the parties.
In addition, if the parties agree to a neutral not on the Court maintained list, or the parties agree to a fee in excess of $500 for four (4) hours, the fee charged by the neutral shall be equally assessed to the parties.
PLEASE NOTE: A request for referral to ADR does not extend any deadlines for any pleadings required to be filed in the case, and does not vacate hearings or trial settings.
- ADR is available as soon as an Answer is filed. To request a referral to ADR, file a Request for Referral to ADR (“Request”), in the Court Clerk’s office. A Request form is available from the Clerk’s office or by contacting the ADR Program Director.
Please indicate if you are requesting a Mediation or Settlement Facilitation. If the parties have agreed to a mediator or settlement facilitator, include the name, address and phone number of that person. If no name is provided, the Court will appoint a mediator or settlement facilitator.
- Make enough copies of your Request for yourself, the judge, the ADR Program Director, and all the parties. The Clerk’s office will keep the original. Ask the filing clerk to endorse (stamp) each of the copies.
a. Take all the endorsed copies to the assigned Judge’s office along with enough self-addressed, stamped envelopes to mail copies of the Request to all parties or their attorneys.
b. Leave another endorsed copy with the Clerk’s office to be forwarded to the ADR Program Director (this copy IS NOT MAILED to the Director).
- The Trial Court Administrative Assistant (TCAA) will send the Mediator or Settlement Facilitator (SF) a signed and filed Order of Referral to ADR (“Order”), Certificate of Compliance, Notice of Hearing, and a Settlement Facilitation Information Sheet if ordered to settlement facilitation.
- The TCAA will send the parties or their attorneys an endorsed copy of the Order, a Settlement Facilitation Information Sheet, and a Participant Questionnaire.
- If ordered to Settlement Facilitation, each party MUST return the Settlement Facilitation Information Sheet to the SF no later than 10 business days prior to the scheduled settlement facilitation. Be as specific as you can about the issues. The more information the SF has, the better he or she will be able to help you.
- The mediation or settlement facilitation must be held not later than 90 days after entry of the Order, unless the case has settled fully before the ADR conference can be scheduled, or the parties have requested and received written approval from the Court to exceed the deadline.
- Failure to abide by all the provisions of the Order, particularly the 90-day requirement for scheduling an ADR conference, may be considered contempt of court, subject to appropriate sanctions.
- If it happens that the Mediator or SF cannot serve for any reason, they should notify the Judge and the ADR Program Director in writing (e-mail, fax, or standard letter are all acceptable) as soon as possible.
a. The ADR Program Director will assign another mediator or SF in accordance with Paragraph 3 of these Procedures, and forward it to the TCAA.
b. The TCAA will prepare and enter a substitute Order and send copies to the original and the substitute mediator or SF, and to the parties and/or their attorneys.
- Within 10 days after the ADR conference, the Mediator or SF will file the Certificate of Compliance with the Court Clerk and mail copies to the parties.
- Each party or their attorney will return the Participant Questionnaire to the ADR Program Director within 10 days after the ADR conference.