In the coming months, the Western District of Missouri will be implementing a Prisoner Litigation Mediation Pilot Program, whereby prisoner litigation will be referred to the Court’s Mediation and Assessment Program (“MAP”) as early in the litigation process as will be beneficial. Beginning in June 2021, when a defendant is directed to respond to a pro se prisoner plaintiff’s complaint, the complaint will be accompanied by a Prisoner Litigation Mediation Request Form, posted on the Court’s website at the link below. The parties will be encouraged to provide their position on mediation by submitting the form to the address listed thereon. Cases will then be reviewed regularly to determine whether a referral to MAP is warranted.
Generally, the factors that will be considered when determining whether to refer a case to MAP will include, but will not be limited to, the following: any Mediation Request Forms received from the parties, the stage of the litigation process, the claims raised, and the relief requested. Certain other events may also trigger a referral to MAP. For instance, a referral to MAP might accompany an order issued by the Court appointing counsel to the prisoner plaintiff for any purpose. Should a case survive summary judgment, referral to MAP will be mandatory, unless the assigned judge prefers otherwise.
Once a case is assigned to mediation under the Pilot Program, the current confidentiality provisions regarding mediation set forth in the MAP General Order and confidentiality consistent with the Mediator’s Oath regarding confidentiality will be applicable. Further information regarding confidentiality and the mediation process will thereafter come from the MAP Office.
The Court appreciates the parties’ participation in the Prisoner Litigation Mediation Pilot Program by submitting Mediation Request Forms to ensure that a decision to select a case for mediation is fully informed. Please contact MAP Director Laurel Stevenson (Laurel_Stevenson@mow.uscourts.gov) and Pro Se Staff Attorney Greg Doty (Greg_Doty@mow.uscourts.gov) with any questions or comments.