(a) Eligible Cases. Only final and appealable judgments and orders in the following types of cases will be eligible for participation in appellate mediation:
(1)divorce cases involving property or spousal support;
(2)any case involving parenting rights, residential responsibilities or support of
minor children; and
(3)any case involving the probate or administration of any estate.
Upon the request of either party, a case that meets the Appellate Mediation Program criteria will be referred to mediation. In those cases where the issues raised are limited to a question of law, a party may request an order from the court exempting them from the Appellate Mediation Program by filing a motion and affidavit with the Clerk of the Supreme Court.
(b)Time to Request Mediation. Any party contemplating appeal may forward a request for mediation to the Family Mediation Program Administrator, identified in North Dakota Supreme Court Administrative Order 17, no later than 60 days after the service of notice of entry of judgment or order in any of the cases identified in subsection a. The request must be simultaneously served on every party under N.D App. P. 25. The time for filing a notice of appeal under N.D App. P 4 is not affected by any request or assignment for mediation.
(c) Screening and Assignment of Mediator. The Family Mediation Program Administrator shall determine whether a case meets the requirements for eligibility and appropriateness for mediation. Once a case has been approved for appellate mediation, the Family Mediation Program Administrator shall forward a Notice of Mediation to counsel, any unrepresented party, and the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The Notice of Mediation shall identify the mediator who has been assigned, and a deadline for completion of the mediation.
(d) Appellate Mediators. Any lawyer qualified as an appellate mediator under North Dakota Rules of Court 8.9 may be assigned to mediate.
(e) Time Limitations/Period for Mediation. The mediation must be completed within 45 days of the assignment of an appellate mediator.
(f) Transcripts and Appellate Briefs. Ordering of Transcript and Filing of Briefs. In order to expedite the mediation process and spare the parties as much initial expense as possible, the ordering of the transcript in respect to cases eligible for and assigned for mediation, shall be extended to a date fifteen (15) days from the filing of the notice of appeal.
(g) Extensions/Tolling. The time for filing briefs is not automatically tolled pending mediation. In cases in which mediation has been requested, any motions for enlargement of time for briefs must be filed with the clerk of the Supreme Court under N.D App. P 26(b).
(h) Mediation Outcome. In appeals settled in whole or in part pursuant to this rule, a stipulation of the parties shall be filed with the Supreme Court, within 5 days of completion of the mediation, requesting the court to enter an appropriate order, which may include voluntary dismissal under N.D App. P 43. In appeals not settled and terminated from mediation, briefing and oral argument will proceed under the rules. In those cases settled by mediation prior to the filing of a notice of appeal, the requesting party is responsible for filing any appropriate document with the district court.
(i) Confidentiality. Statements and comments made during mediation conferences and in related discussions, and any record of those statements, are confidential and shall not be disclosed by anyone (including the Family Mediation Program Administrator, counsel, or the parties; and their agents or employees) to anyone not participating in the appellate mediation process. Mediators shall not be called as witnesses, and the information and records of the Family Mediation Program Administrator shall not be disclosed to judges, staff, or employees of any court.