(a) The coordinator will assign the case to a facilitator.
(b) The facilitator will send a Letter of Notice to the lawyer by certified mail. The Letter of Notice will include a copy of the petition and any documents the petitioner included with the petition.
(c) Within 15 days after the Letter of Notice is served upon the lawyer, the lawyer must provide a written response to the petition. The facilitator is authorized to grant requests for extensions of time to respond. The lawyer's response must be a full and fair disclosure of all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the dispute. The facilitator will provide a copy of the lawyer's response to the client unless the lawyer objects in writing.
(d) The facilitator will conduct an investigation.
(e) The facilitator will conduct a telephone settlement conference between the parties. The facilitator is authorized to carry out the settlement conference by separate telephone calls with each of the parties or by conference calls, depending upon which method the facilitator believes has the greater likelihood of success.
(f) The facilitator will define and describe the following to the parties:
(1) the procedure that will be followed;
(2) the differences between a facilitated settlement conference and other forms of conflict resolution;
(3) that the settlement conference is not a trial;
(4) that the facilitator is not a judge;
(5) that participation in the settlement conference does not deprive the parties of any right they would otherwise have to pursue resolution of the dispute through the court system if they do not reach a settlement;
(6) the circumstances under which the facilitator may communicate privately with any of the parties or with any other person;
(7) whether and under what conditions private communications with the facilitator will be shared with the other party or held in confidence during the conference; and
(8) that any agreement reached will be reached by mutual consent.
(g) The facilitator has a duty to be impartial and to advise all participants of any circumstance that might cause either party to conclude that the facilitator has a possible bias, prejudice, or partiality.
(h) It is the duty of the facilitator to timely determine when the dispute cannot be resolved by settlement and to declare that an impasse exists and that the settlement conference should end.
(i) Upon completion of the settlement conference, the facilitator will prepare a disposition letter to be sent to the parties detailing:
(1) that the settlement conference resulted in a settlement and the terms of settlement; or
(2) that the settlement conference resulted in an impasse.
History Note: Statutory Authority G.S. 84-23
Adopted May 4, 2000
Amended March 11, 2010