R.I. Court Mandates Mediation for All Med-Mal Cases in Providence County

October 18, 2005

Hoping to streamline the handling of cases, the Rhode Island Superior Court is experimenting with a mandatory mediation program for all medical malpractice cases assigned to the trial calendar in Providence County.

Since the Sept. 23 effective date of the order, the court has required that parties in all medical malpractice cases first go through a confidential arbitration hearing.

Retired Judge Richard J. Israel has been assigned to conduct the mediation sessions every Friday and more often if necessary.

All statements made in mediation, including but not limited to the history of negotiation, offers and counteroffers, will be confidential. The court will not disclose the contents of the mediation meetings nor will it make any of the content part of the court file. Each party to a case must file an overview statement with Judge Israel, then meet with him both jointly and individually.

So that counsel may attend the mediation sessions, it was ordered that no medical cases be scheduled for trial on Fridays during the experiment with mandatory mediation.

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