Mediation and arbitration, also known as alternative dispute resolution, are methods of attempting to resolve a dispute through means other than litigation.
In addition to being an attorney, Ms. Azzato is both a mediator and an arbitrator. She is skilled and experienced in negotiating the resolution of disputes through mediation and in deciding matters in dispute through arbitration.
In mediation, parties engage in a structured negotiation through the use of a mediator. The mediator acts as a neutral third person helping the parties to reach a settlement of their dispute. Mediation is non-binding and settlement is not required. However, the parties may reach a settlement of their dispute through the mediation process and enter into a settlement agreement.
In arbitration, a neutral third person acting as arbitrator decides the case as presented. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding depending on the process selected by the parties. Acting as an arbitrator, Ms. Azzato hears a case presented to her by the parties and prepares an arbitration decision on the matter in dispute.
Mediation and arbitration can be effective methods of resolving a dispute before litigation is filed or before a matter proceeds to trial.
Participants should be prepared to discuss the facts of the case and to evaluate the case. Ms. Azzato asks that in mediations participants be prepared to discuss their legal theories, the status of the litigation, and whether there have been any settlement discussions.
The mediation usually will begin with brief opening statements by each party and/or their counsel. Generally, such opening statements should not exceed ten minutes per party.
During the mediation by Ms. Azzato, she may choose to meet separately in private caucus with each party and their counsel to discuss certain issues that have been raised. Those who are not in the private caucus may be asked to use their time working separately on a particular issue. However, at times, the other counsel and parties may not be given a specific task and may wish to bring additional work or reading materials to the mediation for these time periods.
A person with authority to settle for each party should be present at the mediation, or, if appearance by the person with authority to settle is a hardship because the party is located out of state, a person with authority should be available by telephone provided opposing counsel is informed in advance that such a person will be available by telephone only.