[ WSCAI Mediation Program ]
WSCAI Mediation Intake Form
Fill out the WSCAI Mediation Intake Form Online! WSCAI’s Mediation Program offers a private, confidential and inexpensive alternative to litigation, when parties need an assist to resolve a problem or dispute. The program is designed to address day to day community association disputes.
It starts with a streamlined intake process, the commitment of all parties to participate and typically a half-day (up to three hours) facilitated mediation. Facilitative mediation allows parties to reach their own resolution with the assistance of a trained, neutral third party, the mediator.
The Mediation Program’s goal is to assist the parties (both members and non-members are welcome) to reach a resolution, which is reduced to writing at the end of the mediation. If complete agreement cannot be achieved, it is the further goal of this program to assist the parties in achieving an improved understanding and relationship, even if the problem or all aspects of the problem cannot be fully resolved during the mediation session.
WSCAI’s mediators are experienced professionals in the field of association management, association law, or related industries serving community associations.
Both parties to a dispute must agree to participate in the mediation. If the community has a professional manager or a neutral board member that is not a party to the dispute, that person may be a helpful resource to provide information concerning the WSCAI mediation program. If both parties have not already agreed to the mediation, once the first intake form is completed and payment is received, the Chapter office will make a reasonable attempt to contact the other party and invite them to participate.
WSCAI Mediation Program Basics:
- Some mediations requested may be better served by other organizations. WSCAI reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to decline any particular request for mediation.
- Both parties must complete the online mediation request form and pay by credit card the amount determined by the initiating party’s membership status ($250 per party for current WSCAI Members, or $275 per party for Non-Members).
- Upon receipt of both parties’ completed intake forms and payment, both will be contacted by an assigned mediator, generally within 15 days, with mediation scheduled to occur within 30 days. (If the second party’s request is not received within 30 days of the initial request, the first party’s fee will be refunded in full and no further action will be taken by WSCAI.)
- Mediation will take place at a location designated by the mediator, on a mutually agreed date. If the mediation cannot safely or conveniently be held in person, it will be held virtually, using Zoom.com or an equivalent remote connection.
- If one or both parties decide to withdraw the dispute from mediation after the mediation date is set, each payment will be refunded less a $50 administrative fee, for each cancelling party (up to $100 total). If a party does not attend the mediation on the scheduled date and time, the entire mediation fee of that party becomes non-refundable.
- Attorneys are not permitted to attend with the mediation parties.
- $250 per party for a half-day (up to three-hours) mediation session. $500 total cost is split equally between the two parties.
- Both parties must complete the online mediation request form and pay their own mediation fee (priced per membership status) by credit card.
- $275 per (non-member) party for a half-day (up to three-hours) mediation session.
- Both parties must complete the online mediation request form and pay their own mediation fee (priced per membership status) by credit card.
WSCAI Mediation Online Intake Form
To start WSCAI’s mediation intake process online, please fill out the following form:
WSCAI reserves the right to decline any specific mediation at its sole discretion.
Mediation Procedures – The Details
In Washington State, mediation is protected by statute. The statute defines mediation as “’Mediation’ means a process in which a mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute.” RCW 7.07.010. In most cases mediation is confidential. There are some exceptions. These are set forth in Chapter 7.07 RCW and in particular RCW 7.07.030. RCW 7.07.040, RCW 7.07.050. If confidentiality is important to you, please review these statutes for more detailed information concerning the scope of the mediation confidentiality and exceptions.
The parties to a dispute arising under any of the States’ community association statutes, for example Chapter 64.32 RCW, 64.34 RCW, Chapter 64.38 RCW, Chapter 64.90 RCW, or an association’s declaration, bylaws, or rules and regulations are encouraged to initiate mediation. Under RCW 64.90.405(2)(w), an association may “require that disputes between the association and unit owners or between two or more unit owners regarding the common interest community, other than those governed by chapter 64.50 RCW, be submitted to non-binding alternative dispute resolution as a prerequisite to commencement of a judicial proceeding.”
The WSCAI mediation program is designed to provide a faster and less expensive alternative to litigation. The goal is to provide a resolution framework for common community association disputes and deliver an efficient, economic and fair proceeding for all participating parties.
A mediator assists the parties in reaching their own decision on a settlement of the dispute. The mediator is not a decision-maker. If a voluntary settlement of all matters at issue is not reached at the mediation, it is the secondary goal of the program to improve the ability of the participants to communicate and to better understand each other and to reach agreement to the extent possible.
The Mediation Process Involves The Following:
Both parties must agree to mediation. Both must complete the online mediation Intake Form on this page and pay the mediation service fee, within 30 days of each other.
2. Consent to Mediation
A party initiating mediation may notify the other party of the mediation request submission. In the alternative, upon receipt of a completed Intake Form and payment of the first one-half of the mediation fee, the Chapter office will make reasonable efforts to contact the second party and extend the invitation to mediate. Consent to mediation by a party constitutes consent to all terms of these Procedures.
3. Required Information
After both parties have consented to mediation, the matter is assigned to a mediator, who is provided with the Intake Forms.
No attorney is necessary for mediation. If a party is represented by an attorney, the attorney is not permitted to attend or participate in the mediation. This does not prohibit a participant from seeking legal advice.
The WSCAI mediation program utilizes mediators from its approved Panel of Mediators. To be eligible for the Panel, a mediator must:
(a) be a current member of WSCAI;
(b) have been a member of CAI, either individually or as employee of a member for at least five (5) years;
(c) have successfully completed a 40-hour mediator training program in facilitative mediation administered by the Dispute Resolution Center of any county in Washington State or, if approved by the WSCAI Board of Directors in its discretion, an equivalent program administered by a different provider, among other qualifications.
6. Appointment of Mediator
A mediator shall be appointed as follows:
(a) Upon receipt of a request for mediation consented to by both parties, a completed Intake Form and payment, WSCAI will appoint a mediator from the Panel of Mediators.
(b) The Mediator will confirm with WSCAI that the mediation is accepted.
(c) The parties will be informed of the appointment of their mediator. The parties may request the assigned mediator to be disqualified based upon a conflict of interest or perceived conflict.
(d) The mediator will then receive the Intake materials and communicate with the participants, generally via email, to organize scheduling, location, time and any other necessary logistics. The mediation will generally be scheduled to occur within 30 days after assignment to the mediator.
(e)If either party objects to the appointed mediator or if the appointed mediator is unable to serve, WSCAI will seek to appoint another mediator from the Panel. WSCAI reserves its right to decline to accept the mediation or to attempt to appoint a different mediator, at its sole discretion.
7. Mediator Impartiality
An appointed mediator must:
(a) decline a mediation if the mediation cannot be conducted in an impartial manner;
(b) disclose, as soon as possible, all actual and potential conflicts of interest that could reasonably be seen as raising a question about the mediator’s impartiality, if any.
8. Mediator Duty to Disclose
Prior to accepting appointment, mediators are required to make a reasonable inquiry to determine whether there are any participants or other facts, or issues that are likely to create a potential or actual conflict of interest for the mediator. Mediators must disclose any such facts or any issues likely to create an appearance of bias or that could prevent a timely resolution of the parties’ dispute. The mediators will rely upon the information provided in the Intake Form to perform this reasonable inquiry.
9. Waiver of Conflict
The parties may, upon receiving disclosure of any actual or potential conflict of interest of the mediator, waive such conflict and proceed with mediation.
10. Replacement Mediator
If any mediator is unwilling or unable to serve, WSCAI will appoint another mediator or terminate the mediator appointment process, in which case a full refund of the parties’ fees will be made.
11. Responsibilities of the Mediator
Mediation is based on the principle of party self-determination, which means a voluntary decision in which each party makes free and informed choices, based upon the information the parties share with each other.
- The mediator will actively listen and may reflect, summarize or restate a participant’s goals and positions.
- The mediator is authorized to conduct separate confidential discussions or meetings with the parties during the mediation conference. These separate communications are called a caucus.
- The mediator does not provide legal advice to the parties.
- The parties are encouraged to exchange all relevant documents that pertain to the dispute. The mediator will rely upon the information provided in the Intake Form. Being factual and complete on the Intake Form is productive and helpful to the process.
- Information gained in a separate caucus is confidential, but a participant may be encouraged to share information brought up in a caucus to the extent that it may be helpful to the mediation process.
- The mediator assists the parties in reaching their own decision on a settlement of the dispute. The mediator is not a decision-maker. The mediator does not judge the case or the parties, but facilitates the dialogue between the parties.
- A mediator does not have the authority to impose a settlement on the parties but will attempt to help the parties reach a satisfactory resolution of their dispute.
12. Responsibilities of the Parties
Each party shall ensure that someone with complete authority to resolve the dispute attends the mediation. For a community association that may be an officer, director or manager duly authorized to bind the association. Each participant must approach the mediation in good faith, with a willingness to work toward a solution. During the mediation, the parties shall exercise their best efforts to be prepared for problem solving, to be courteous, respectful and to engage in a meaningful and productive mediation.
Mediation conferences and communications are private proceedings. The parties attend the mediation conference. Other persons may attend only with the advance permission of the parties and the mediator. Attorneys for the parties are not permitted to attend.
14. Confidentiality by Mediator
Confidential information disclosed to a mediator shall not be divulged by the mediator. The mediator shall maintain the confidentiality of all information obtained in the mediation, and all documents received by a mediator while serving in that capacity shall be kept confidential. In general, a mediator may not be called to testify in any judicial or other proceeding as to any aspect of the mediation process. (See Chapter 7.07 RCW).
15. Confidentiality by the Parties
The parties agree that all information, statements and discussions exchanged or held in the mediation process will be considered as statements made and information exchanged in furtherance of a compromise and settlement and will not be admissible in any proceeding or trial, unless the parties jointly agree otherwise. They shall be protected by the mediation statutes referenced above and Rule of Evidence ER 408. The parties shall maintain the confidentiality of the mediation and shall not rely on, or introduce as evidence in any judicial or other proceeding the following, at a minimum, unless agreed to in writing by all participants:
(a) views expressed or suggestions made by a party or other participant with respect to a possible settlement of the dispute;
(b) admissions made by a party or other participant in the course of the mediation proceedings (except as set forth by law);
(c) statements made by the mediator; or
(d) the fact that a party had or had not indicated willingness to accept a proposal for settlement.
16. No Mediation Record
There shall be no written or electronic recording of the mediation. In addition, no party shall audio or video record any part of the mediation process. Any violation of this restriction may be a violation of RCW 9.73.030 and may subject a person to penalties under RCW 9.73.060, among other penalties, or consequences.
17. Termination of Mediation
The mediation shall be terminated:
(a) by the execution of a settlement agreement by the parties;
(b) by a written or verbal declaration of the mediator to the effect that further efforts at mediation would not likely contribute to a resolution of the dispute; or
(c) by a written or verbal declaration of both parties to the effect that the mediation proceedings are terminated.
Neither WSCAI nor any mediator shall be liable in any way to any person for any claim of any nature whatsoever including but not limited to any alleged error, act, or omission in connection with any mediation. Neither the mediator nor WSCAI are necessary parties in any judicial proceeding relating to the mediation, for example an action to enforce a mediation settlement agreement.
19. Interpretation & Application of Procedures
The mediator shall interpret and apply these Procedures as they relate to the mediator’s duties and responsibilities. WSCAI shall interpret and apply the balance of the procedures for which it is responsible. The parties shall interpret and apply the procedures for which they are responsible.
20. Mediation Fees.
The total cost of the mediation is $250 per person ($275 for parties who are not members of WSCAI). A portion of this amount will be retained by WSCAI for administration of the program and a portion will be paid to the mediator. The mediation fee must be paid in full prior to any mediation session.