AAA FIXED RATE MEDIATION PROGRAM
By Jeffrey T. Zaino, Esq.
The American Arbitration Association (AAA) will soon offer a Fixed Rate Mediation Program for commercial disputes designed to provide parties with a cost effective approach to resolving two-party disputes where claim amount(s) are $75,000.00 or less by submitting a dispute to a neutral third-party (the Mediator). Multi-party cases with claim(s) less than $75,000.00 are also eligible provided all parties agree that the mediation can conclude in one day.
Mediation will take place at a flat rate (fixed, up front disclosed cost) with expedited time frames and parties will have access to AAA
Mediators from the AAA® National Roster that agreed to participate in this program. The program will be flexible and allow parties to incorporate it into an existing AAA arbitration. The program can reduce transactional costs (time, money, emotions) while achieving an amicable resolution of the dispute. There are considerable cost savings when compared to hourly or ad-hoc Mediators.
Under the program, prompt appointment of an AAA Mediator will take place. Only mediators that have agreed in advance to serve at the fixed rate under this program will be selected. The mediations will be one day and scheduled within 30 days of the Mediator's appointment. If requested, a pre-mediation conference call with parties and Mediator can be arranged along with submission of pre-mediation statements.
Parties that mediate under this program will be charged a fixed rate of $525.00 per party which includes the Mediator's compensation. If the mediation is settled or withdrawn prior to the confirmation of the appointment of the mediator, and / or prior to the mediation conference being held, and / or prior to the submittal of pre-mediation statements, the mediator will not be compensated. The AAA nonrefundable filling fee of $200.00 will not be refunded. The mediator's compensation of $850.00 shall be refunded to the paying party(s). Parties to an AAA arbitration that mediate under this program pay the mediator's fixed rate of $850.00 which is shared equally amongst the parties.
Jeffrey T. Zaino, Esq., is Vice President for the Commercial Division of the American Arbitration Association in New York.