ADR for Civil Cases
Maine Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b) requires some form of ADR in most types of civil cases.
Rule 16B requires the parties in most types of civil cases to attempt to resolve their dispute through some form of ADR. Rule 16B gives the parties a choice of mediation, non-binding arbitration or early neutral evaluation. Certain types of cases are exempt from this requirement, and parties may seek a waiver by filing a motion with the court.
The parties must engage in ADR at an early stage of a case, between 60 and 120 days after the court issues the Scheduling Order in the case. The parties and counsel select the neutral to conduct their ADR process. If the parties and counsel cannot agree on a neutral, the court will appoint one for them from the roster of neutrals maintained by the court. This roster lists neutrals who meet certain qualifications, and although parties often choose neutrals from the list, they are not required to do so. Neutrals set their own fees for ADR services, and the parties pay the neutral directly, or do so through their counsel. The court does not charge a fee for use of its roster or other Rule 16B services.
Rule 16B requires at least one ADR session, which is referred to as an “ADR conference.” If the parties choose, they may schedule additional conferences to assist them in resolving a case. Sessions are scheduled at a time and place convenient for the parties, their counsel and the neutral.
At an ADR conference, the neutral and parties engage in the ADR process that has been selected. In most cases, the parties choose mediation, so the “ADR conference” is actually a mediation session. Rule 16B requires the attendance of certain individuals at the conference. The individual parties must attend, and cannot merely send counsel. If the party is a corporation or business, there must be in attendance a management employee or officer of the entity with appropriate settlement authority. In the case of an insurance company, an adjuster or other representative with settlement authority must attend. For government agencies, there must be a designated representative of the agency.