Mediation is a great way for legal parties in Alabama to resolve their differences because it is cheaper than a full legal battle, but it still provides an avenue to reach a settlement that everyone agrees on. However, if the suit is a class action suit, mediation works a bit differently.
What separates individual and class action mediation?
The first difference is the timing of the process. A class-action suit has a special step called class certification. This is the step where the judge decides if the plaintiffs represent the whole class or just themselves. Generally, class action mediation happens before class certification, but it can come after.
Another difference is the representation of the mediation process. With individual mediation, the plaintiff, defendant and both sets of lawyers are present. Under Class action, there is not much of a reason for the plaintiff to be there; the plaintiff’s attorney makes all the decisions, and they represent the whole class. There are special rules and protections to make sure that all of the members of the class, who are not present and might not even know about the case, have their interests properly represented.
Class action suits with mediation are often long and complex. It can take years and several different attempts at mediation to get them to settle. The additional complexity is to account for the fact that there are many people connected to the case who cannot be a part of its day-to-day proceedings. The goal is always to reach a settlement that works for both parties without having to wind up going to trial, which is riskier and more expensive for everyone.