The Baltimore City Circuit Court has recently announced that it has changed its scheduling and procedural requirements for motor tort cases, to require mediation in all such cases with claimed damages exceeding $20,000. Mediation will be required to be completed no later than 30 days after the discovery deadline, the court said in a release, subject to the right to request exemption from mediation within 60 days from the date of the order. If the parties engage in mediation, either party may choose to opt out of the scheduled pre-trial conference upon demonstrating that mediation was completed in accordance with the order. Motor tort cases scheduled on a Short Track Schedule – cases where damages claimed are $20,000 or less and cases forwarded from the District Court due to a jury trial prayer – will not be referred to mediation.
I’m not sure how much this will help, though. I think the success of the program depends largely on the skill and experience of the mediators. If they use experienced personal injury lawyers or defense counsel, the mediation may be valuable. If not, I expect it will be a waste of time.