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Mediation is the process by which a neutral helps the parties reach a resolution of their dispute. It is a nonbinding process involving joint and separate meetings of the neutral with the parties in which the role of the neutral is a facilitator and intermediary.

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Folks, here are the mediation rules of GAMA [as of 7/95], one of a number of private alternative dispute resolution firms It is being provided for informational purposes and no endorsement or recommendation is intended. -- staff.
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As used in these Rules, the below listed terms have the indicated definitions.

I. DEFINITION OF TERMS:

1. Mediation is the process by which a neutral helps the parties reach a resolution of their dispute. It is a nonbinding process involving joint and separate meetings of the neutral with the parties in which the role of the neutral is a facilitator and intermediary. The mediation process is helpful to educate the parties as to the strengths and weaknesses of the case and bring about a settlement that both sides can be satisfied with much earlier in the settlement process than can otherwise be reasonably expected.

2. A Neutral is an impartial person assigned to a case by GAMA based upon his/her expertise and qualifications. He/she will mediate a case submitted for mediation by acting as a go between and holding joint and separate meetings with the parties.

3. An Agreement to Mediate, is the filing of GAMA Form document #116, entitled "Agreement to Mediate" signed by all parties to the dispute, together with the appropriate initiation fee. After filing the Agreement to Mediate, BOTH parties must follow up this filing with a confirmation copy containing their original signature sent via U.S. mail or private carrier to both GAMA and the opposing party.

4. A Demand for Mediation, is the filing of GAMA Form #115, Demand for Mediation, by the initiating party together with the appropriate filing fee and by serving a copy of the same upon the other party. The initiating party should follow up the filing of the Demand for Mediation by mailing a confirmation copy via U.S. Mail or private carrier to both GAMA and the opposing party.

5. A Response to Demand, is the filing of GAMA Form #117, together with the appropriate filing fee, if any, and serving a copy of the same upon the initiating party within five business days from receipt of the Demand. The responding party should follow up the filing of the Response to Demand by mailing a confirmation copy via U.S.Mail or private carrier to both GAMA and the opposing party.

6. Unless modified by the neutral conducting the mediation meetings, "filing", is the submission by a party of a document to GAMA. This submission is accomplished by Internet e-mail to GAMA's e-mail address. This filing is presumed to have occurred at the time any said document is transferred via e-mail. Where required by these rules, the neutral hearing the dispute, or agreed to by the parties, documents filed by e-mail shall be followed by a "confirmation copy" containing sent via, first class United States Mail or by private carrier to both GAMA and the opposing party.

7. Unless modified by the neutral hearing the dispute, "service" is the sending of a document to another party at his/her Internet e-mail address. All documents that are required to be filed with GAMA must also be served simultaneously upon the other party.

8. A confirmation copy is a hard copy sent to all parties and to GAMA when required, within 24 hours of the filing of any document by e-mail, via, U.S. first class mail or by private carrier.

9. Unless modified by the neutral hearing the dispute, or as agreed to by the parties, the mediation meeting is a time period set by the neutral wherein the neutral will be available to "meet" with the parties to the dispute, via the submission of questions and answers using the internet e-mail. If agreed upon by the parties, the mediation meeting can continue beyond the initial set time period for long as it takes to reach a negotiates settlement acceptable to all present. Further, where the parties agree, a traditional, "face to face" meeting can also be arranged at additional cost.

10. A traditional mediation meeting is a "face to face" meeting where the witnesses, parties and neutral are all in the same room at the same time. Upon agreement by the parties, GAMA may schedule a traditional mediation meeting at the location most convenient to the parties' assigned neutral.

II. INITIATION PROCEDURES

A. Where There Is A Contract With An Mediation Clause:

1. Where there is a contract previously signed by all parties containing a Mediation Clause, either party may initiate mediation by filling out and filing GAMA Form #115, Demand for Mediation, together with the appropriate filing fee and by serving a copy of the same upon the other party. The initiating party should follow up the filing of the Demand for Mediation by mailing a confirmation copy to both GAMA and the opposing party.

2. The responding party responds to a demand for Mediation by filing a Response to Demand, GAMA Form #117 together with the appropriate filing fee, if any, and serving a copy of the same upon the initiating party within five business days from receipt of the Demand. The responding party should follow up the filing of the Response to Demand by mailing a confirmation copy to GAMA via U.S. Mail or private carrier to both GAMA and the opposing party.

3. Upon receipt of the filing fee, the Demand for Mediation and the Response to Demand, GAMA shall make the appropriate case designation and assign the dispute to a neutral mediator. If no Response to Demand is filed, then the party who had the duty to respond shall be deemed to have denied the initiating parties' right to mediate and the neutral will issue an Order compelling the nonresponding party to participate. Should the nonresponding party fail to participate, the neutral will issue a written Order and Finding, stating that said party has breached the mediation contract and holding said party in contempt. The initiating party can then take this order and finding and utilize the same in a breach of contract case in civil court if he/she so desires.

B. Where there is an Agreement to Mediate:

1. Where there is an Agreement to Mediate, any party to the dispute may file GAMA Form document #116, entitled "Agreement to Mediate", together with the appropriate filing fee and thus initiate mediation. However, the Agreement to Mediate must be signed by ALL the parties to the dispute and after filing the Agreement to Mediate, ALL parties must follow up this filing by sending GAMA a confirmation copy containing their original signature.

2. Upon receipt of the filing fee and the Agreement to Mediate, GAMA make the appropriate case designation and shall assign the case to a neutral mediator. Case designation and assignment shall be made in writing by the case administrator and served via Internet e-mail.

C. Filing Fee:

Regardless of whether mediation is initiated by a Demand for Mediation or an Agreement to Mediate, the following nonrefundable filing fee must be paid by each party filing a claim or counterclaim that is to be mediated in U.S. dollars:

1. For Small Claims, less than $25,000.00, the filing fee is 10% to a maximum of $250.

2. For claims between $25,000.00 and up to $100,000.00, the filing fee is $350.00.

3. For claims between $100,000.00 and up to $350,000.00, the filing fee is $500.00.

4. For claims between $350,000.00 and $1,000,000.00, the filing fee is $750.00.

5. For claims between $1,000,000.00 and $3,000.000.00, the filing fee is $1,000.00.

6. For claims of $3,000.000.00 or more, the filing fee is $2,000.00.

All filing fees, hourly mediation fees, and administrative fees for services rendered by GAMA and its neutrals shall be paid by either wire transfer of funds into the designated GAMA account or by cashiers check hand.

D. Processing Fees

Processing fees are a nonrefundable fee due and payable upon receipt of case designation and assignment of the mediator. The processing fee for a small claims case shall include the first 3 hours of the mediator's time. The processing fee for the large claims cases shall include the first 2 hours of the mediator's time. The parties shall be charged for additional hours of the mediator's time at rates ranging from $150.00 an hour to $350.00 an hour. The mediator's time shall include all preparatory time, such as time spent reading the submitted Statements of Claims and reviewing exhibits, as well as time actually spent in communication with the parties.

III. MEDIATION PROCEDURES

Upon receipt of GAMA's written case designation and assignment of the case to a neutral mediator, the parties shall comply with the applicable Mediation Procedures.

A. SMALL CLAIMS

A Small Claim is one in which the claims of all the parties total less than $25,000. U.S. dollars. Small claims are subject to the below listed Expedited Mediation Procedures.

1. Expedited Mediation Procedures:

a. Together with GAMA's written designation of the Case as a Small Claims Case, the parties shall also receive the e-mail address, resume and designation of the neutral. At this time the payment of the processing fee is due and payable.

b. To speed the resolution of Small Claims and keep their resolution inexpensive, it is expressly understood that the neutral may be a paid GAMA employee who is an attorney, or an independent contractor. This allows GAMA to keep the mediation hourly fee for small claims between approximately $100.00 an hour and $250.00 an hour. Regardless, the parties shall have 48 hours from receipt of the Small Claim's Designation, to file GAMA Form #114, Objection to Designation. The sole basis for said objection is that the designated neutral has an alleged conflict of interest that would impede his/her ability to be impartial in the case. Upon a determination by GAMA that said objection is valid, another neutral will be assigned to the case within 3 business days of receipt of the Objection to Designation. Should GAMA determine that said Objection is not valid, GAMA will issue a Rejection of Objection and the case will proceed accordingly.

c. Regardless of the filing of an Objection to Designation,

the parties shall have ten business days from receipt of the Small Claims Designation, to file their Statement of Case and serve a copy upon each other. The Statement of Case should be a written memo citing all the facts and law in support of their position and is limited to 25 pages.

d. Within ten business days of the filing and service of the Statement of Case, the neutral shall schedule the mediation meeting. This "mediation meeting" is actually a scheduled time period set by the neutral wherein the neutral will be available to "meet" with the parties to the dispute, via discussion, questions and answers, using the Internet e-mail, IRC, chat, conference call etc. However, where the parties agree, a traditional, "face to face" meeting can also be provided at additional cost.

e. Once an acceptable resolution of all or some of the claims is reached by the parties, the neutral shall reduce the terms to writing and submit the same to the parties. The parties may make any appropriate and agreed upon additions and changes and should then sign this agreement and exchange releases.

f. Should resolution of all or part of the claims submitted not be deemed possible after a good faith attempt by all parties, then the neutral mediator may terminate the mediation meetings and the parties may submit their claims to arbitration for a binding and final resolution by a neutral or panel of neutrals. At such subsequent arbitration, the information offered in the mediation shall not be admissible.

B. LARGE CLAIM MEDIATION PROCEDURES

All claims wherein the total of all claims submitted by all parties is $25,000.00 or more, are subject to these Large Claim Mediation Procedures.

1. Large Claim Mediation Procedures:

a. Together with GAMA's written designation of the Case as a Large Claims Case, the parties shall also reactive the e-mail address, resume and designation of the neutral. Upon receipt of the designation, payment of the processing fee is due and payable.

b. The neutral in all Large Claims Cases shall, unless otherwise agreed to by both parties, be an independent contractor selected by GAMA for his/her expertise in the area under dispute. However, the parties shall have 5 business days from receipt of the Large Claim Designation, to file GAMA Form #114, Objection to Designation. The sole basis for said objection is that the designated neutral has an alleged conflict of interest that would impede his/her ability to be impartial in the case. Upon a determination by GAMA that said objection is valid, another neutral will be assigned to the case within 5 business days of receipt of the Objection to Designation. Should GAMA determine that the objection is not valid, GAMA will issue a Rejection of Objection and the case shall proceed accordingly.

c. Regardless of the filing of an Objection to Designation, the parties shall have 10 business days from receipt of the Large Claims Designation, to file their Statement of Case and serve a copy upon each other. The Statement of Case should be a written memo citing the facts and law in support of their position and is limited to 50 pages. In support of their Statement of Case, each side may file as many affidavits and/or as much other documentary evidence as they desire, although this is not customary or necessary in a mediation proceeding.

d. Within 10 business days of the filing and service of the Statement of Case, each side to the mediation shall have the opportunity to respond to the other side's Statement of Case by filing a Response to Statement of Case. This Response shall be no more than 25 pages in length.

e. Upon the receipt of the Response to Statement of Case, if any, or the passing of five business days from the Statement of Case, the neutral mediator shall schedule the mediation meeting. The "mediation meeting" is a scheduled time period set by the neutral wherein the neutral will be available to "meet" with the parties to the dispute, via the submission of affidavits and testimony, questions and answers, using the Internet e-mail, IRC, Chat, conference calling, ect. However, where the parties agree, a traditional, "face to face" meeting can also be provided at additional cost.

f. If agreed upon by the parties, the mediation meeting can continue beyond the initially set time period for as long as it takes to reach a negotiated settlement acceptable to all present. Further, where the parties agree, a traditional, "face to face" meeting can also be arranged at additional cost.

g. Should resolution of all or part of the claims submitted not be deemed possible after a good faith attempt by all parties, then the neutral mediator may terminate the mediation meetings and the parties may submit their claims to arbitration for a binding and final resolution by a different neutral or panel of neutrals. At such subsequent arbitration, the information offered in the mediation shall not be admissible.

IV. ADDITIONAL RULES, REQUIREMENTS AND OTHER INFORMATION

1. Additional Fees and Expenses:

In addition to the filing fees, all the parties to a GAMA conducted mediation shall pay the following additional fees and expenses in U.S. dollars:

a. Hourly Mediation Fees:

i. The parties must pay an hourly fee for mediation time spent by the parties and the neutrals in the mediation meetings and meeting related preparatory activities that goes beyond the time covered by the processing fee. This fee compensates both the neutral and GAMA in part. This hourly fee varies according to many factors, such as subject matter of dispute, country or locality. For the most part, however, the hourly rate ranges between $100.00 an hour to $350.00 an hour. While GAMA will initially bill each party separately for its equal portion of the hourly mediation fees, GAMA reserves the right to hold each party accountable for the entire amount of the hourly mediation fees.

ii. Payment on all Hourly Mediation Fees is due at the time services are rendered and shall be paid by one of the following manners or methods: by credit given against deposited funds; by wire transfer of funds: by cashiers check hand delivered to GAMA within 48 hours of due date.

iii. At GAMA's discretion, it may require that the parties pre-pay the estimated cost of the Hourly Mediation Fees and Expenses. If GAMA so proceeds, it shall provide an accounting and at the close of the mediation, any balance shall be returned to the parties.

b. Expenses:

i. In addition to the filing fees, processing fees and the Hourly Mediation Fees, the parties shall pay for all expenses of mediation that are particular to the parties' case. Said expenses shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

a. Long distance telephone charges if any.

b. The neutral's expenses if any, including travel expenses where the parties agree upon a traditional mediation meeting.

This concludes GAMA's Rules of Mediation.
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Copyright 1995, GAMA, Inc.

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