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.
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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.