Mediation Opportunity – Prisoner Early Mediation Program

March 6, 2023

The Western District of Michigan’s (WDMI) Pro se Prisoner Civil Rights Early Mediation Program (PEM) provides early mediation conferences to assist the parties in settling pro se prisoner civil rights cases, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, without the need for further court action. The WDMI is currently using its Voluntary Facilitative Mediation (VFM) panel mediators, as well as additional mediators selected and trained to handle mediations in prisoner civil rights cases. The program has been very successful, resolving more than 50% of the cases that have gone to mediation. The Court is in need of additional trained mediators to maximize the benefits of the PEM. Accordingly, the Court has asked the FBA’s assistance in identifying and training additional PEM mediators. These additional mediators would be used solely for the Prisoner Early Mediation Program.

PEM mediations are conducted in half-day sessions by zoom on Wednesdays and Fridays. Mediators are free to conduct the mediation from the location of their choice. Through the use of “virtual rooms,” the mediator meets jointly with all parties and/or separately and confidentially with each party and counsel to discuss the issues, with the goal of achieving settlement. As in other mediations, the documents exchanged between the parties and their discussions and negotiations during the mediation conference are strictly confidential. The parties to the litigation are required to make a good faith effort to settle the case based on a fair and reasonable view of the facts and the law.

Our FBA Chapter has a long history of stepping up when the Court needs assistance. Please consider whether, as part of your pro bono commitment, you would be willing to serve the Court and litigants through this important program. If so, please complete the application and return it by April 21, 2023.