2005 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Upshaw
AN ACT TO REQUIRE THE SUBMISSION OF TORT DISPUTES FOR MEDIATION; TO PROVIDE THAT THE MISSISSIPPI BAR SHALL APPOINT MEDIATORS; TO PROVIDE THAT ANY APPLICABLE STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS SHALL BE SUSPENDED WHILE A DISPUTE IS IN MEDIATION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Before any civil suit involving a tort may be filed, the dispute must be submitted for mediation. The Mississippi Bar shall appoint and certify mediators for such disputes. Mediators shall be members of the Mississippi Bar who have been engaged in the active practice of law for a minimum of five (5) years. The mediator shall make every effort to help parties resolve their dispute in order to avoid litigation. Upon written notice of a claim involving a tort being delivered in person or by registered certified United States mail upon any individual who may be properly served with process for such an individual or entity, any applicable statute of limitation shall be suspended. The statute of limitations shall remain suspended while a dispute is in mediation. Mediation shall be informal and rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence shall be relaxed. Mediation under this act shall be nonbinding unless the parties agree in writing to make the mediation binding. Any matter which is submitted for mediation under this act which is not resolved may not be filed as civil action until ninety (90) days after the termination of mediation or upon receipt by the claimant of a written notice of denial of claim.
(2) Every notice of claim under this section shall contain a short and plain statement of the facts upon which the claim is based, including the circumstances which brought about the injury, the extent of the injury, the time and place the injury occurred, the names of all persons known to be involved, the amount of money damages sought and the residence of the person making the claim at the time of the injury and at the time of filing the notice.
SECTION 2. This act shall not be construed to take away from the courts their power over awards, nor to make invalid any award good at common law. This act shall be liberally construed for the encouragement of the settlement of disputes and the prevention of litigation.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.