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Judges Offer Free Mediation

Judges in Idaho are taking part in a Resolution Roundup, volunteering their time to solve lawsuits without ever going to trial.

Free of charge judges will spend the week mediating court cases.

In mediation, the judge works with the two sides, trying to come up with a solution they can both live with to avoid the costs of going to court.

“You just have this person who walks between the parties and tries to help them understand why this would be a good case for settlement,? 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Randy Smith said.

Mediation could save those involved in lawsuits a whole lot of money.

“You’re really minimizing cost. And you might be minimizing attorney fees, especially if you’re paying your lawyer on an hourly basis,? Smith said.

The mediator’s decision isn’t binding. If either side doesn’t like it, they can reject it.

“They have input, and they’re not forced to do anything. The mediator isn’t going to come around and force you to accept the bargain that’s been suggested,? Smith said.

Idaho’s court district volunteered to be the guinea pig for the Resolution Roundup, and if it works here, the idea will spread.

“At the end of the week we’ll do our tally and see how the numbers came out and how many cases were settled and what was the outcome. If the numbers look good enough we hope to have it in all the 9th Circuit,? Alternative Dispute Resolution Director Susie Headlee said.

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