Mediation is a voluntary private process that is an alternative to expensive, stressful and time-consuming litigation. Unlike litigation, you control how your dispute is resolved and how quickly you resolve your disputes. The issues and terms of the settlement may be kept private. The mediator does not represent any of the parties. However, as an experienced Jurist, Judge Prochnau will provide her best assessment of the law and the likely outcome of a court proceeding to guide the parties in settling the matter.
Judge Prochnau listens to your concerns, carefully reviews the circumstances of your case and will give you the benefit of her knowledge of the law based on her over 20 years on the King County Superior Court Bench.
Unless the parties choose to be in the same room, each party (and their attorney) will be in a separate conference room and Judge Prochnau will go between the rooms to hear from each party, to convey settlement offers, and give her learned assessment as to how best to settle the case.
Once an agreement is reached, the Mediator cannot prepare the final orders. The parties are advised to each consult with counsel. Ideally, each party will have their own attorney at the mediation session but at a minimum they should retain counsel to prepare the final orders.
If the mediation is not successful, you can still go to court, in which case you will have a better understanding of the issues and the potential outcomes of the litigation process.
As an arbitrator, Judge Prochnau hears from both sides, carefully reviews the law and enters a decision on the issues. Arbitration may be done with live testimony in a conference room with all parties and their attorneys or may be done on the basis of written submissions only. Unlike a court proceeding, the arbitration session is private and the testimony and exhibits do not normally go into a public record.
In those cases where the issues are particularly contentious or complex and/or one or more of the parties is litigious, the parties or the assigned judge may choose to appoint a discovery master. As a private discovery master, Judge Prochnau hears from each party, carefully reviews the evidence and law, and determines the scope and pace of discovery.