Is Mediation In Arizona Confidential?

One of the benefits of Arizona mediation is that the documents, communications and acts in mediation are confidential.  Mediation confidentiality is protected by Arizona law.  The applicable law is located at Arizona Revised Statute section § 12-2238.  Further, all participants in a mediation sign a confidentiality agreement, thereby contractually binding themselves to maintain confidentiality.  There are a few exceptions to the confidentiality rule, such as where the parties agree to the disclosure or where there is threatened or actual violence.

By contrast, lawsuits are a matter of public record.  Anyone can access any document filed in the Court.  Court documents can include private financial information and embarrassing allegations.  Some Court documents are even accessible on the internet.  Only in limited circumstances can parties seal documents, thereby keeping those particular documents from the public eye.  Businesses, high profile litigants and average people involved in unusual cases are more likely to garner unwanted media attention and public scrutiny when they litigate their disputes. Businesses may lose clientele when involved in a public lawsuit, especially when the company publically loses a lawsuit.

Confidentiality is important to the mediation process because it allows participants to feel comfortable in making settlement offers.  Few people would concede anything if they knew the other participant could reveal the concessions in Court or to other people not involved in the mediation.
Businesses are sometimes reluctant to settle cases because they think if people learn about the settlement, it will bring more litigants out of the woodworks.   Companies fear that they will gain a reputation for settlement and more people will be looking to get the same result.  With mediation, no one knows the resolution, unless both parties want that information made public.  In some situations, where the parties want Court Orders, like family law cases, the parties disclose the final agreements to the Court.

Mediation offers peoples and companies in conflict a comfortable environment to explore resolution privately.

For more information about mediation, please call 480-998-1500.  The information contained on this article is designed to be of general interest and should not be considered legal advice.

Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
a Professional Limited Liability Company
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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