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(1) Pursuant to 39-3-216 , MCA, and ARM 24.16.7537, if a party disputes the determination of the department, the department shall conduct mediation of the dispute.

(2) The department shall appoint a mediator and notify the parties, in writing, that a mediator has been appointed.

(3) The mediator shall contact the parties to establish the procedures used to conduct the mediation and set a time for the mediation. The mediator shall establish procedures taking into account the facts and circumstances of the matter.

 (4) Mediation must be completed within 45 days from the date of notice of appointment of the mediator, unless all parties and the mediator agree to an extension or unless the case is withdrawn.

(5) If mediation resolves the dispute, the mediator shall issue appropriate documentation that states the terms of agreement for approval by the parties. The terms of the agreement may be confidential, and if so, the mediator shall also provide appropriate notice of settlement, signed by the parties, if such notice is required to dispose of any remaining issues.

(6) If mediation does not fully resolve the dispute, any unresolved issues will be resolved through contested case proceedings in accordance with ARM 24.16.7537 and Title 2, chapter 4, part 6, MCA.

(a) As permitted by 2-4-603 , MCA, mediation may also be requested by parties to the case at any later time prior to full and final judgment.

(b) If a dispute has entered contested case proceedings, but further mediation resolves the dispute prior to a final agency decision, the parties may either withdraw the case or sign a stipulation authorizing the mediator to request dismissal of the contested case hearing.

History: 39-3-202, MCA; IMP, 2-4-603, 39-3-216, MCA; NEW, 2003 MAR p. 2433, Eff. 10/31/03.

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