49 CFR 1109.3 - Confidentiality in ADR Matters
(a) Mediation model. The Chairman will appoint one or more Board employees trained in mediation to mediate any dispute assigned for mediation. Alternatively, the parties to a matter may agree to use a non-Board mediator if they so inform the Board within 10 days of an order assigning the dispute to mediation. If a non-Board mediator is used, the parties shall share equally the fees and/or costs of the mediator. The following restrictions apply to any mediator selected by the Board or the parties:
(1) No person serving as a mediator may thereafter serve as an advocate for a party in any other proceeding arising from or related to the mediated dispute, including, without limitation, representation of a party to the mediation before any other federal court or agency; and
(2) If the mediation does not fully resolve all issues in the docket before the Board, the Board employees serving as mediators may not thereafter advise the Board regarding the future disposition of the remaining issues in the docket.
(b) Mediation period. The mediation period shall be 30 days, beginning on the date of the first mediation session. The Board may extend mediation for additional periods of time not to exceed 30 days per period, pursuant to mutual written requests of all parties to the mediation proceeding. The Board will not extend mediation for additional periods of time where one or more parties to mediation do not agree to an extension. The Board will not order mediation more than once in any particular proceeding, but may permit it if all parties to a matter mutually request another round of mediation. The mediator(s) shall notify the Board whether the parties have reached any agreement by the end of the 30-day period.
(c) Party representatives. At least one principal of each party, who has the authority to bind that party, shall participate in the mediation and be present at any session at which the mediator(s) request that principal to be present.
(d) Confidentiality. Mediation is a confidential process, governed by the confidentiality rules of the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 (ADRA) (5 U.S.C. 574). In addition to the confidentiality rules set forth in the ADRA, the Board requires the following additional confidentiality protections:
(1) All parties to Board sponsored mediation will sign an Agreement to Mediate. The Agreement to Mediate shall incorporate these rules by reference.
(2) As a condition of participation, the parties and any interested parties joining the mediation must agree to the confidentiality of the mediation process as provided in this section and further detailed in an agreement to mediate. The parties to mediation, including the mediator(s), shall not testify in administrative or judicial proceedings concerning the issues discussed in mediation, nor submit any report or record of the mediation discussions, other than the settlement agreement with the consent of all parties, except as required by law.
(3) Evidence of conduct or statements made during mediation is not admissible in any Board proceeding. If mediation fails to result in a full resolution of the dispute, evidence that is otherwise discoverable may not be excluded from introduction into the record of the underlying proceeding merely because it was presented during mediation. Such materials may be used if they are disclosed through formal discovery procedures established by the Board or other adjudicatory bodies.
(e) Abeyance. Except as otherwise provided for in § 1109.4(f) and part 1111 of this chapter, any party may request that a proceeding be held in abeyance while mediation procedures are pursued. Any such request should be submitted to the Chief, Section of Administration, Office of Proceedings. The Board shall promptly issue an order in response to such requests. Except as otherwise provided for in § 1109.4(g) and part 1111 of this chapter, the Board may also direct that a proceeding be held in abeyance pending the conclusion of mediation. Where both parties to mediation voluntarily consent to mediation, the period during which any proceeding is held in abeyance shall toll applicable statutory deadlines. Where one or both parties to mediation do not voluntarily consent to mediation, the Board will not hold the underlying proceeding in abeyance and statutory deadlines will not be tolled.
(f) Mediated settlements. Any settlement agreement reached during or as a result of mediation must be in writing, and signed by all parties to the mediation. The parties need not provide a copy of the settlement agreement to the Board, or otherwise make the terms of the agreement public, but the parties, or the mediator(s), shall notify the Board that the parties have reached a mutually agreeable resolution and request that the Board terminate the underlying Board proceeding. Parties to the settlement agreement shall waive all rights of administrative appeal to the issues resolved by the settlement agreement.
(g) Partial resolution of mediated issues. If the parties reach only a partial resolution of their dispute, they or the mediator(s) shall so inform the Board, and the parties shall file any stipulations they have mutually reached, and ask the Board to reactivate the procedural schedule in the underlying proceeding to decide the remaining issues.