Our Mediation Philosophy

The Western District of Wisconsin offers court-sponsored mediation with Magistrate Judge Andrew Wiseman and retired Magistrate Judge Peter Oppeneer.  Mr. Wiseman has worked for the court since 2007 and is currently the Chief Deputy Clerk.  Mr. Oppeneer worked for the court for 34 years as a law clerk and Clerk of Court.  Participation in mediation is voluntary and will not affect the progress or deadlines in your case.  Of course, parties are free to pursue private mediation or direct negotiation at any time.

Mediation can be an efficient, cost-effective way to resolve legal disputes when communication between the parties is a barrier, or when the parties' interests are obscured by emotion or rigid legal positions.  The most important factor in successful mediation is that all parties are willing to engage in realistic, good-faith negotiation.  We are eager to help you settle your case, but we have no interest in imposing an additional burden on parties who wish to go to trial.

Initiating Mediation

The pretrial conference order in your case will establish a deadline for confidential settlement letters to several months before your trial. Mr. Wiseman or Mr. Oppeneer may initiate contact based on these letters.  Attorneys are also encouraged to call 608-261-5719 if they believe early mediation would be productive.  Early mediation can allow the parties to avoid discovery or trial preparation costs.

Confidentiality and Ethics

Settlement letters and settlement discussions are strictly confidential and will not be used at trial or shared with the judges or other parties.  Any party that feels a mediator has violated confidential or ethical standards is encouraged to submit a written statement to the Chief Judge, with copies to the mediator and all parties.  The Chief Judge will review the matter and take appropriate action.  The mediator will notify the parties of any conflict of interest and will assist in the selection of an alternate mediator.  If a party believes there is a conflict of interest, the party should notify the mediator and the parties so that an alternate mediator may be found.