As a recent, unwilling participant in South Carolina’s legal mediation process, I disagree with Mills Gallivan’s perspective (“Quick, efficient end to lawsuits is best for all parties,” Oct. 18).
Most parties in civil proceedings have no choice in the matter; in nearly all cases, the S.C. Supreme Court has decreed mediation mandatory. The paying parties in lawsuits never got a vote, but they are required to foot the bill.
Mediation is quite expensive. In my case, the mediator charged $350 per hour with a minimum four hours. Each side’s attorney can be expected to bill at similar rates, with total billing of some $4,000. Take a guess at who paid the bill.
Did mediation aid in the settlement of my lawsuit? It did not. It was a complete waste of money as well as time.
Does it ever help in the early resolution of lawsuits? Since the mediators are also the sole scorekeepers, we’ll never know for sure.
There can be a role for mediation, but it should not be mandatory.