Mediation is a voluntary and informal process in which you and your counsel, as well as any other parties and their counsel, work with a trained and unbiased mediator to resolve your dispute without the necessity, expense, time, and stress of a trial.
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
FRED M. OXLEY
Fax: (419) 289-8545
Unlike a judge or a jury, the mediator does not do any of the following: (1) determine or decide the facts of your dispute; (2) determine whether you are right or wrong; or (3) render a decision or force a settlement. The mediator’s role is merely to facilitate meaningful discussions and negotiations between you and the other parties, with the ultimate goal being an agreeable resolution to your dispute.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation provides a number of significant advantages over litigation, including:
- You get to decide. Mediation provides a means by which you decide how your disputes will be resolved; any resolution is controlled by you, rather than by a judge or a jury.
- Focus on needs and interests. Mediation examines the underlying causes of your conflicts and looks at what solutions best satisfy your needs and interests.
- Personal understanding. At the mediation, you will be able to tell your story in your own way, while acknowledging the feelings and the emotions of your opposition. Additionally, you will discuss legal and personal issues with the mediator and your counsel in order to help you develop a better understanding of your case, your opponent’s case, and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
- Satisfaction. Due to your active involvement in the mediation process, you are more likely to be satisfied in the outcome than if you went to trial and had a judge or a jury decide your disputes for you.
- Informal setting. Mediation is a less intimidating process than a trial. There are no rules of procedure that need to be followed, so you are able to speak freely in finding the best path to an agreement.
- Faster. A mediated agreement may be obtained in a couple of hours, or in a series of phone conferences, email exchanges, and mediation sessions spread out over a couple of months. On the other hand, the litigation process (including the filing of a lawsuit, the discovery process, a trial, and any appeals) may be spread out over several years.
- Less expensive. Given the length of time involved in the litigation process, litigation is expensive; the costs of preparing for a trial often exceed the benefits that you receive from it. Mediation is the opposite, with the benefits that you receive from mediation often exceeding the costs of it.
- Continuing relationships. A lengthy trial can divide people and increase hostility; a mediation helps end your problem, but it does not destroy the relationship you have with your neighbor, business partner, or family member on the other end of your dispute.
- Confidentiality and privacy. Unlike most court cases, which are matters of public record, most mediations are confidential.
About the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS)
With the cooperation of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ashland Municipal Court established the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) in March 2015, with the goal of providing cost-effective, efficient mediation services to the citizens of Ashland County, Ohio and the surrounding counties. Since that time, the DRS has achieved that goal by successfully mediating more than 400 disputes, including lawsuits filed in the common pleas courts in the counties of Ashland, Richland, Wayne, Knox, Crawford, Marion, Morrow, Delaware, Lorain, Summit, Stark, Franklin and Clermont.
Meet the Mediator: Fred M. Oxley
Fred M. Oxley graduated from Miami (OH) University in 1970; he obtained a law degree from The Ohio State University College of Law, and began practicing law in Ashland County, Ohio and the surrounding area in 1973. His career in private practice spanned more than 40 years, with primary concentrations in personal injury, workplace injury, motor vehicle accident, commercial and residential construction, premises liability, probate, real estate, insurance, and medical malpractice law. Mr. Oxley has handled hundreds of lawsuits throughout Ohio through the mediation process, and he has tried more than 75 cases to jury verdict. He has served as Acting Judge and Magistrate in the Ashland Municipal Court for 30 years, handling a variety of criminal, traffic, and civil cases. Mr. Oxley has also served as the contract mediator in the Ashland County Common Pleas Court, as well as in several other Ohio courts. Due to his broad background in litigation and mediation, Mr. Oxley knows what you need when trying to settle a dispute.
DRS Mediation Process
All mediations conducted through the DRS are conducted pursuant to the provisions contained in the Ohio Uniform Mediation Act (Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2710) and Local Rule 27 of the Ashland Municipal Court, and all parties must agree that their conduct and communications in the mediation are inadmissible in any civil evidentiary proceeding as set forth in Rule 408 of the Ohio Rules of Evidence. By conducting a mediation through the DRS, you agree to be bound by these regulations.
The DRS schedules mediations pursuant to referrals received from any Ohio court, or pursuant to the agreement of all parties to mediate, regardless of whether a lawsuit has been filed. If you would like to schedule a mediation with the DRS, please contact the Mediation Administrator, who handles all scheduling and administrative matters. The DRS most frequently schedules mediations on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, beginning at 10:00 AM, at the Ashland Municipal Court. However, the day and start time of the mediation will ultimately be determined by Mr. Oxley’s availability and the desires of all mediating parties. Once you confirm a date and time with all other parties and their counsel, please confirm Mr. Oxley’s availability with the Mediation Administrator.
Once you have set a date and time for your mediation through the Mediation Administrator, you will receive an email from the Mediation Administrator confirming the following information:
- Date and time for your mediation.
- Amount of, number of hours covered by, and due date for your deposit, as well as the hourly rate for DRS hours accumulated in excess of the amount covered by your deposit. The DRS provides its mediation services pursuant to a flat fee arrangement. Generally, each party must pay a deposit of $400.00 (e.g., a husband and wife, as co-plaintiffs in a lawsuit against a lone defendant that crashed into their car, need pay only one deposit to cover both co-plaintiffs; the defendant also need pay a separate deposit), by cash, check, or money order made payable to the “Ashland Municipal Court”. In a typical mediation involving only two parties (a plaintiff and a defendant, regardless of whether the parties are represented by counsel), your deposit will cover five hours of mediation preparation, email communications, phone conferences, and mediation time. Any mediation preparation, email communications, phone conferences, and mediation time in excess of five hours will typically be invoiced at $195.00/hour, to be divided equally and paid separately by the parties or their attorneys within thirty (30) days of the invoice date. The amount of your deposit, the number of hours covered by your deposit, the due date for your deposit, and the hourly rate for DRS hours accumulated in excess of the amount covered by your deposit will vary depending on the number of parties involved in, and the legal complexities of, your mediation. You must submit your deposit to the DRS on the earlier of: (1) one month from the date that you receive the confirmation letter from the Mediation Administrator (if you scheduled your mediation several months in advance); or (2) the date of the mediation. The parties and their attorneys jointly assume responsibility for payment of all deposits and invoice balances due to the DRS.
- Due date for your mediation memorandum. Each party must submit a detailed mediation memorandum to the DRS. You should submit your mediation memorandum to the DRS as soon as possible, in order to give Mr. Oxley ample time to review it, but in any event, you should submit, by mail or email, your mediation memorandum to the DRS no later than two weeks prior to your mediation date. Your mediation memorandum should contain the following information: (1) a summary of the facts of the case; (2) any monetary claims, any known defenses to those claims, and any previous attempts made to settle those claims; (3) any nonmonetary needs of the parties; (4) any legal issues, as well as any applicable law and its potential application to the case at hand; (5) copies of any pleadings (complaint, answer, counterclaim, etc.) that you have filed in any originating court; (6) highlighted copies of key exhibits (i.e., contracts, medical records, expert reports, or photographs) that support your claim; and (7) any other documents or materials that you believe might be relevant to Mr. Oxley’s understanding of the case. When drafting your memorandum, please remember that inflammatory and exaggerated statements in your mediation memorandum will significantly reduce the possibility of reaching a settlement. You should share your mediation memorandum with your opposition. If you would like to supplement your mediation memorandum with confidential information, then please advise Mr. Oxley, in writing, of the confidential nature of any information that you so provide.
Once Mr. Oxley reviews all memoranda and any accompanying documents, he will contact you to address any preliminary issues or questions that he may have about the information contained in your mediation memorandum. In the weeks leading up to the mediation, Mr. Oxley may contact you (via phone or email) several times to monitor any progress toward settlement of your dispute. Occasionally, a dispute will be settled through these communications alone; however, if you object to these individual communication sessions, please advise the DRS immediately.
You should prepare for the mediation session as if the case was proceeding to trial. As stated by Frank A. Ray, one of Ohio’s most distinguished trial attorneys, in “How to prepare a client’s civil case for mediation”, published in the November/December 2015 edition of Ohio Lawyer: “Attorneys effectively posture a case for mediation by engaging in the same process that produces persuasive pressure points that influence the decision-making by a court and jury. The onus for convincing an adversary party of unfavorable exposures in a litigated case falls on the advocating party’s trial lawyers, not the mediator. In preparation for a mediation, no viable alternative exists for counsel’s thorough preparation and understanding of issues that drive the outcome of the case.” Part of your preparation should include a pre-mediation discussion with your client/representative to address a range of potential mediation and trial outcomes; you, not the mediator, have a duty to adjust your client’s/representative’s expectations about this case.
If the mediation is to be held in Ashland, approximately one week prior to your mediation, you will receive an email from the Mediation Administrator containing a lunch menu – a local caterer prepares boxed lunches for all participants present at the mediation for no additional fee. If you would like a lunch, please fill out and submit, by email or fax, your lunch menu to the Mediation Administrator no later than 24 hours prior to the mediation date and time (unless otherwise instructed by the Mediation Administrator), in order to provide ample time for the caterer to prepare all of the lunches. If you do not want lunch, or if you have any special requests or dietary needs, please notify the Mediation Administrator. In addition to lunch, bottled water, soda, coffee, and snacks are available to all mediation participants.
On the date of your mediation, all parties necessary for a successful resolution to the dispute (e.g., the parties, their attorneys, insurance adjusters, subrogees, all who must have authority to settle) must be present at the mediation.
If, at any time, you believe that you will not be able to attend a mediation at the originally scheduled date and time, please advise the Mediation Administrator immediately. If the mediation is to be held at our facility, please arrive at the Ashland Municipal Court approximately 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the mediation. You may park, or you may be dropped off, in our free main parking lot located in front of the Ashland Justice Facility. Upon entering the Court, you will be ushered about our facility by the Court’s staff. Please follow their instructions closely. You will be escorted to either the civil courtroom, the jury room, or our spacious conference room; you will not be in the same room as your opposition, as Mr. Oxley prefers talking with each party separately. If you object to this mediation method, please advise the DRS immediately. If the mediation is to be held on Zoom.com or in a different facility, separate instructions will be issued.
Mr. Oxley does not set any time constraints on mediations, so you should anticipate spending most of the day mediating and attempting to resolve your case. Mediations can also involve a considerable amount of downtime, such as when the mediator is discussing issues with the opposing party. Please feel free to bring your phone, tablet, or laptop with you to use during such times.
Hopefully, your day spent mediating with the DRS will result in a settlement of your dispute. If your dispute is not settled by the conclusion of your mediation, know that mediation is a process; it is not a one-time event. With your permission, Mr. Oxley will continue working to resolve your dispute, with email communications, phone conferences, or a second mediation session. If you would like to schedule a second mediation session, please contact the Mediation Administrator.