Madison County's Civil Division Mediation Program has recently been approved by the Illinois Supreme Court.
According to a release issued Monday by Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis, the high court also approved an amendment to the Medical Malpractice Mandatory Mediation Program that requires parties to mediate nursing home malpractice cases.
The program already requires parties to mediate healing arts malpractice actions.
The Medical Malpractice Mediation Program was the first of its kind in Illinois, and the amendment -- to include nursing home malpractice actions -- also is the first of its kind in the state.
Additionally, the program is unique in that it not only calls for mandatory mediation of all medical malpractice cases, but also allows the parties to choose between judges or lawyers to mediate their cases.
Committee members include Circuit Judge Dave Hylla, who served as chairman, Circuit Judges Callis, Barb Crowder, Charles Romani, Daniel Stack and Associate Judges Steve Stobbs and Tom Chapman.
The committee had previously met with several different members of the legal and medical community before passing the original rule.
Callis has appointed Judges Crowder and Hylla to co-chair implementation of the mediation program.
Judges Crowder and Ralph Mendelsohn are currently certified to mediate cases.
Judges Hylla, Steve Stobbs, Ellar Duff, and Keith Jensen received scholarships to obtain mediation certification in the spring.