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Civil Docket - Alternative Dispute Resolution
[Civil] [Criminal] [Family] [Juvenile]

The Circuit Court for Baltimore City has two alternative dispute resolution programs for the civil non-domestic docket. They are the pre-trial settlement conferences which are scheduled in most civil cases 30 days before trial and a Court Mediation Program. 

Court Mediation Program. 

Mediation is an informal and confidential process where a neutral person, a mediator, assists people in a dispute by encouraging communication, allowing the opportunity for both sides to be heard, identifying each person's needs and, if possible, helping the participants reach an agreement that satisfies everyone's needs. Mediators do not give legal advice, render judgments or force any participant to reach an agreement. Mediation provides people with the opportunity to participate in the outcome of their dispute. More than one-half of the Court's cases that are referred to mediation are resolved during the mediation conference. Studies indicate that when a case is referred to mediation, the parties and the courts save both time and money. Often, cases resolved through mediation spend less time in the court system and involve fewer discovery motions.

Pre-Trial Settlement Conference. 

In most civil cases scheduled for trial, a mandatory settlement conference is held 30 days before trial. The conference is set before either a judge or volunteer settlement attorney at a courthouse location. The court's scheduling orders require that all counsel, their clients and insurance representatives must attend the pretrial settlement conference in person. For requests by a party or representative to excuse personal attendance in favor of telephone participation, the following procedures should be used:

  • All requests to excuse personal attendance must be made in writing, by motion or letter filed with the clerk.
  • All requests should be filed not later than twenty-one (21) days before the conference or provide good cause for later filing. It is helpful if a copy is submitted to Ronna Jablow, ADR Program Coordinator (Room 401, Courthouse East; Fax No. 410-333-1383).
  • Where a pretrial conference is scheduled before an active judge of the court, the decision whether to approve the request for telephone participation instead of personal attendance will be made by the judge before whom the pretrial conference is set.
  • Where a pretrial conference is scheduled before a voluntary settlement attorney or a retired judge, the decision whether to approve the request will be made by the ADR supervising judge.
  • If a request is approved, that approval applies only for the date on which the pretrial conference is scheduled at the time of the request. If the pretrial conference is rescheduled for any reason, a renewed request must be submitted for consideration according to the procedures set forth above.

    If a person is excused from personal attendance, counsel will be informed about the “Courtcall” procedure for that person’s required participation by telephone at the time of the approval.

    If you have any questions about mediation, please contact:

    Ronna K. Jablow
    Mediation Coordinator Circuit Court for Baltimore City
     111 N. Calvert Street Room
    401 Courthouse East
    Baltimore, MD 21202
    (410) 396-7374
    Email
    Ronna.Jablow@courts.state.md.uss

    Newsletter:
    Newsletter: ADR in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City - June 2012
    Newsletter: ADR in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City - June 2011
    Newsletter: ADR in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City - Dec 2011

    Forms:
    Civil Mediation Instructions
    Civil Mediation Instructions for Motor Tort Cases
    Civil Mediation Instructions for Medical Malpractice Cases
    Confidential Mediation Conference Statement
    ADR Data Sheet
    Attorney Evaluation of Mediator
     
    Roster of Approved Mediators for Health Care Malpractice

    FAQs About the Baltimore City Circuit Court Civil Mediation Program