Frequently Asked Questions about ADR in Superior Court Civil Cases

What authority establishes a requirement for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program for the Maine Superior Court?

Rule 16B of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure.

Is this "mandatory" ADR ?

In most types of civil, commercial cases, the parties are required to try some form of ADR. Rule 16B exempts many types of cases from that requirement, and parties may seek a waiver by filing a motion. For example, actions for personal injury damages less than $30,000 are not subject to the requirement nor are actions by or against incarcerated persons.

What forms of ADR are available?

Rule 16B gives the parties a choice of mediation, non-binding arbitration or early neutral evaluation (ENE).

When must ADR take place?

ADR must be completed at an early stage of a case between 60 and 120 days after the Rule 16(a) Scheduling Order.

Who selects a neutral?

The parties and counsel select the neutral to conduct their ADR process. If the parties and counsel cannot agree on the selection of a neutral, the court will designate a neutral for them. The plaintiff is responsible to initiate the process of selecting the neutral and scheduling ADR.

How do parties know which neutrals are on the court-approved rosters?

The court has a directory that lists all neutrals on the court rosters which is available in print and elsewhere on this website.

What is the neutral's fee for conducting ADR?

The court has not set a fee for ADR. Neutrals set their own fees for ADR services and may negotiate fees with the parties and counsel.

Who pays the neutral?

The parties (or counsel) pay the neutral directly. The court does not charge a fee, nor will the court get involved in paying neutrals for services rendered in ADR pursuant to ( Neutrals must make arrangements to collect fees, whether in advance, at the time of the ADR or later.

What is an "ADR conference," as referred to in Rule 16B?

Rule 16B requires at least one ADR session, which is referred to as an "ADR conference." A minimum of one session is required. The parties and counsel may choose to participate in more than one ADR session.

At an ADR conference, the neutral and parties engage in the ADR process that has been selected.

Who must attend an ADR conference?

The conference attendees must include individual parties; a management employee or officer of a corporate party with appropriate settlement authority; a designated representative of a government agency when that agency is a party, an adjuster for an insurance company with appropriate settlement authority; counsel for all parties; and nonparties whose participation is essential to settlement discussions. Attendance may be by telephone or video conference if permission is given by the neutral.

Does the neutral receive documents in advance of the ADR conference?

Rule 16B gives the neutral the option to request documents. If the neutral requests, the plaintiff will provide the following documents: the complaint, the answer or other responsive pleading, any pretrial scheduling statement; any pretrial order that may have been issued; and any dispositive motions and memoranda that have been filed in connection with those motions.

Where is an ADR conference held?

At a location mutually agreeable to the neutral, parties and counsel. Generally, these do not take place at the courthouse.

Can an ADR conference be held by telephone or video conference?

Yes, at the discretion of the neutral. For many reasons, an ADR conference conducted by telephone may be less effective, however.

How long does an ADR conference last?

An ADR session continues as long as the neutral believes it is effective and participants agree to stay and participate.