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13-22-302. Definitions.


As used in this part 3, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) Arbitration means the referral of a dispute to one or more neutral third parties for a decision based on evidence and testimony provided by the disputants.

(1.3) Chief justice means the chief justice of the Colorado supreme court.

(1.7) Director means the director of the office of dispute resolution.

(2) Early neutral evaluation means an early intervention in a lawsuit by a court-appointed evaluator to narrow, eliminate, and simplify issues and assist in case planning and management. Settlement of the case may occur under early neutral evaluation.

(2.1) Fact finding means an investigation of a dispute by a public or private body that examines the issues and facts in a case and may or may not recommend settlement procedures.

(2.3) Med-arb means a process in which parties begin by mediation, and failing settlement, the same neutral third party acts as arbitrator of the remaining issues.

(2.4) Mediation means an intervention in dispute negotiations by a trained neutral third party with the purpose of assisting the parties to reach their own solution.

(2.5) Mediation communication means any oral or written communication prepared or expressed for the purposes of, in the course of, or pursuant to, any mediation services proceeding or dispute resolution program proceeding, including, but not limited to, any memoranda, notes, records, or work product of a mediator, mediation organization, or party; except that a written agreement to enter into a mediation service proceeding or dispute resolution proceeding, or a final written agreement reached as a result of a mediation service proceeding or dispute resolution proceeding, which has been fully executed, is not a mediation communication unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties.

(2.7) Mediation organization means any public or private corporation, partnership, or association which provides mediation services or dispute resolution programs through a mediator or mediators.

(3) Mediation services or dispute resolution programs means a process by which parties involved in a dispute, whether or not an action has been filed in court, agree to enter into one or more settlement discussions with a mediator in order to resolve their dispute.

(4) Mediator means a trained individual who assists disputants to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of their disputes by identifying and evaluating alternatives.

(4.3) Mini-trial means a structured settlement process in which the principals involved meet at a hearing before a neutral advisor to present the merits of each side of the dispute and attempt to formulate a voluntary settlement.

(4.5) Multi-door courthouse concepts means that form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties select any combination of problem solving methods designed to achieve effective resolution, including, but not limited to, arbitration, early neutral evaluation, med-arb, mini-trials, settlement conference, special masters, and summary jury trials.

(5) Office means the office of dispute resolution.

(6) Party means a mediation participant other than the mediator and may be a person, public officer, corporation, partnership, association, or other organization or entity, either public or private.

(7) Settlement conference means an informal assessment and negotiation session conducted by a legal professional who hears both sides of the case and may advise the parties on the law and precedent relating to the dispute and suggest a settlement.

(8) Special master means a court-appointed magistrate, auditor, or examiner who, subject to specifications and limitations stated in the court order, shall exercise the power to regulate all proceedings in every hearing before such special master, and to do all acts and take all measures necessary or proper for compliance with the courts order.

(9) Summary jury trial means summary presentations in complex cases before a jury empaneled to make findings which may or may not be binding.


Source: L. 83: Entire part added, p. 624, 1, effective July 1. L. 88: (3) amended and (6) added, p. 605, 1, effective July 1. L. 91: (2.5) and (2.7) added and (3) amended, p. 369, 1, effective July 1. L. 92: (1) and (2) amended and (1.3), (1.7), (2.1), (2.3), (2.4), (4.3), (4.5), (7), (8), and (9) added, p. 298, 2, effective June 2.


Cross references:

For the legislative declaration contained in the 1992 act amending subsections (1) and (2) and enacting subsections (1.3), (1.7), (2.1), (2.3), (2.4), (4.3), (4.5), (7), (8), and (9), see section 1 of chapter 66, Session Laws of Colorado 1992.


Law reviews. For article, Early Neutral Evaluation as a Dispute Resolution Tool in Family Court, see 41 Colo. Law. 37 (May 2012).

Mediation communications does not extend to all communications that may be related to the mediation. Mediation communications are limited to those made in the presence or at the behest of the mediator. After a preliminary settlement agreement had been signed following a mediation, negotiations between counsel and statements to the court were not mediation communications required to be kept confidential pursuant to 13-22-307. Yaekle v. Andrews, 195 P.3d 1101 (Colo. 2008).

Under the plain language of subsection (2.5), statements forming an oral agreement allegedly reached during mediation are mediation communications. Tuscany Custom Homes, LLC v. Westover, 2020 COA 178, __ P.3d __.