Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution in which a neutral third party (the mediator) assists opposing parties in reaching a settlement of their dispute outside of a formal, and public, court litigation.  


Mediation is sometimes confused with Arbitration. As stated above, in a mediation the mediator listens to both parties and helps the parties reach a settlement upon which they can both agree. An Arbitration, on the other hand, is more similar to a private court. An Arbiter, or panel of Arbiters, presides over the proceedings. Evidence is entered and witnesses are questioned in much the same way as a traditional court case. After all the evidence is entered and arguments are made the Arbiter (not the parties) decides on a resolution of the dispute and the Arbiter's ruling is final and enforceable--whether the parties agree with it or not. 



Mediation is less formal than both traditional litigation and arbitration and, thus, is often less stressful and cheaper than going to court.  Once a settlement has been reached a mediation agreement can be drawn up.  Parties tend to keep the mediation agreement because they have prepared the terms themselves.  Mediations are completely confidential and the information discussed within them cannot be used in Court or in any other legal action issued at a later date. 


Generally the financial cost of mediation is less than fighting the matter in court and may achieve early settlement and end anxiety.


Robert W. Pendergrass, Attorney at Law    3735 E. Ventura Ave. Fresno, CA 93702   T. 805.946.1625   F. 805.946.1626

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