In 1992, the court instituted a mediation program to assist litigants and their counsel in resolving cases pending in the court of appeals. Mediation is a confidential process where a neutral mediator meets with the parties to the case, either alone or with their attorneys, to discuss resolving their dispute by agreement. The program is governed by 6th Dist.Loc.App.R 13. The services of the court’s mediator, Carrie A. Connelly, Esq., are available to litigants in this court free of charge.

The court’s mediator reviews each new appeal to determine if the case may be appropriate for mediation. When the court’s mediator chooses a case for mediation, the court notifies the attorneys (or pro se parties) by letter of the date and time of the mediation. Attorneys or pro se parties are urged to call the court’s mediator if they have reservations about the appropriateness of the mediation process for their case or to discuss the mediation process in general. A phone call is all that is required to reschedule the mediation date and time. Also, any party or attorney can request a mediation by calling the court’s mediator at 419-213-4755.

Generally the mediation is scheduled prior to the time the record on appeal must be filed. If that is not possible, the appellant can call the mediator to request an extension of time until after the mediation to file the record or, if the record has already been filed, appellant’s brief. These extensions are not given automatically when a mediation is scheduled, but in most cases will be given automatically if requested. The aim is to avoid the cost of a transcript of proceedings or writing a brief pending possible resolution of the dispute through mediation.

The mediation itself is held at the court of appeals and usually lasts at least one and one-half to two hours. At the mediation, the lawyers are asked to discuss, in general terms, the legal basis of the appeal. The parties and their counsel are given an opportunity to describe the dispute to the mediator and discuss possible resolutions to the dispute. The mediator may choose to talk to each side of the dispute separately in a caucus in an effort to reach a resolution to the problem. The parties, not the mediator, determine the terms of any agreement reached. If the case is settled, the parties are urged to put that agreement in writing and sign it before they leave. The mediator will type the agreement for them if the parties wish. Counsel prepares the formal documents such as mutual releases and a satisfaction of judgment after the mediation. The mediator will help the parties with the procedures necessary to tie up all the loose ends in the court of appeals and the trial court if necessary. Additional mediation sessions can be scheduled as long as all of the parties are negotiating in good faith.

Attorney Carrie A. Connelly serves as this court’s mediation attorney. Prior to becoming this court’s mediator, Ms. Connelly served as a staff attorney for Judge Stephen A. Yarbrough. Ms. Connelly has completed 18 hours of basic mediation training in addition to 14 hours of domestic abuse mediation training through the Ohio Supreme Court. Ms. Connelly routinely attends advanced mediation seminars, and is a member of the Ohio Mediation Association.

Ms. Connelly can be contacted by phone at 419-213-4755 or e-mail and invites anyone interested in learning more about the court’s mediation program or in scheduling a mediation in a case pending in this court to contact her.