By Jeannie Henderson, Martha-Lynn Lee, Kourtney Sanders, and Jay Hicks
As REO Speedwagon sang back in the late 1970s, sometimes you’ve got to roll with the changes. We within Mediation and Ombudsman Services of Tennessee think those are wise words.
You might have already noticed changes with the Dispute Resolution Statements that have been issued in May 2022. The first and most obvious change is with the style, but that should look familiar to you because it was revised to match other court filings.
A second change is to the Dispute Resolution Statement. This form is now being used by mediators to document full and final settlements. Parties are required to sign this form when full and final settlements are reached under section 50-6-236(b)(4). When a mediator requests signatures, please prioritize signing and returning the form promptly.
These forms aren’t used by the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. Attorneys will continue to use the Court’s settlement templates for the judges to approve settlements.
The third and most noteworthy change involves a new form to file when additional disputes arise after a Dispute Resolution Statement has been issued.
In the past, parties filed an amended petition for benefit determination using the same docket number and state file number. Now a new form titled “Request to Resume Mediation” is filed instead. This will prevent filing multiple lawsuits over the same claim and should please your staff, since it’s a shorter form.
The new form asks the filing party to note changes in contact information and to document the new issue(s). It also asks the parties to coordinate dates to speed up the mediation process for everyone, and like all other court filings, the opposing party gets a copy.
We appreciate your help with promptly obtaining signatures on the Dispute Resolution Statements. We also look forward to receiving the Request to Resume Mediation with dates for mediation selected before it’s filed.
Together, we’re rolling with the changes and improving the mediation program as we go!
This is REO Speedwagon back in the day, not the MOST authors of this article. Great hair!
Jeannie Henderson, Martha Lynn Lee, and Kourtney Sanders are mediation specialists in Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis, respectively. Jay Hicks is an ombudsman attorney in Nashville.