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Federal Court Mediation Study
Last registered on August 14, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Federal Court Mediation Study
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002060
Initial registration date
August 14, 2017
Last updated
August 14, 2017 4:56 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Harvard Law School
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2011-06-01
End date
2018-09-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Despite the centrality of court adjudication to the rule of law, and of court-connected mediation programs to court adjudication, there has never been a well-executed and exhaustive study of mediation’s costs and benefits. This randomized control trial (“RCT”) of a court-connected mediation program, has taken place in an environment unusually hostile to evidence-based thinking, namely, the United States federal court system. Multiple outcome variables directly relevant to mediation’s alleged justifications will be measured. The RCT is critical to a resource allocation dispute ongoing within the federal judiciary, which has indicated its desire for more such evidence, and it will serve as a model for court systems in the United States and abroad.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Greiner, James. 2017. "Federal Court Mediation Study." AEA RCT Registry. August 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2060-1.0.
Former Citation
Greiner, James. 2017. "Federal Court Mediation Study." AEA RCT Registry. August 14. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2060/history/20399.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
A trial court order mandating a pre-discovery mediation session between an inmate civil rights plaintiff in a Nevada federal court lawsuit versus an order encouraging the parties to engage in informal settlement negotiations on their own.
Intervention Start Date
2015-10-01
Intervention End Date
2018-09-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
plaintiff recovery; reduced expenditure of court resources; reduced expenditure of party resources; increased party satisfaction with the adjudicatory process; increased party satisfaction with the adjudicatory result; an improved party post-dispute relationship
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
if possible, additional post-dispute relationship to be measured by frequency, dates, and severity of so-called inmate “grievance” filings (administrative filings in which inmates complain of mistreatment)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The units in the Study are civil rights cases filed against Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) officials in Nevada federal court by inmates incarcerated within the NDOC system. The treatment was an order mandating a half-day mediation session conducted by a court-trained volunteer attorney. Each session was evaluative, broad in focus, caucused, and mandatory (i.e., the federal court entered an order compelling the parties to participate).

In control group cases, no mediation session was held; instead, the federal court issued an order encouraging the parties to engage in informal settlement discussions on their own.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
By computer
Randomization Unit
Court cases
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
353 cases
Sample size: planned number of observations
353 cases
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
177 cases in the control group
176 cases in the treatment group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
A randomized evaluation of District of Nevada inmate early mediation program
IRB Approval Date
2017-05-13
IRB Approval Number
F20346
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS