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In re Parenting of I.M.M.

Supreme Court of Montana

September 24, 2013

IN RE THE PARENTING OF I.M.M.
v.
JORAM MARTIN, Respondent and Appellee. KIMBERLY LUTHER, Petitioner and Appellant, and

ORDER

Appellant Kimberly Luther (Kimberly), proceeding pro se, filed a Motion to Dismiss Mediation on August 20, 2013. As reason for her objection to mediation, she cites § 40-4-301(2), MCA, which states: "The Court may not authorize continuation of mediated negotiations if the court has reason to suspect that one of the parties or a child of a party has been physically, sexually or emotionally abused by the other party." Kimberly attempts to establish that Respondent Joram Martin (Joram) has been abusive to I.M.M., the parties' daughter, who is autistic. Joram has filed no response.

Appointed mediator Dana C. Christian filed a Mediator's Report on September 18, 2013. The report indicated that Christian had sent a confirmation letter to each of the parties on September 12, 2013, stating the time and place that the mediation would be conducted in Bozeman. Christian telephoned both parties again on September 9, 2013, to confirm their appearance at the mediation. Christian indicates he called Kimberly at her phone number of record on September 9, 11 and 12, 2013. On all three occasions, the line was picked up, but nobody responded. Christian reiterated his expectation to the person answering the phone that both parties would appear and participate in the mediation.

Neither party served a position statement to Christian. Joram submitted what appeared to be trial court papers to Christian. Both Joram and the mediator arrived at the mediation at 9:45 a.m. Kimberly did not appear. Joram and Christian left the mediation at 11:00.

Christian contacted the Clerk of Court's office. He learned that Kimberly had filed a motion requesting to be excused from mediation, but had not served him with a copy. The case was not resolved and Christian was not compensated for his services.

Kimberly argues that her concern for Joram's alleged abuse of I.M.M. should trigger the application of § 40-4-301 (2), MCA. Both parties agree to be self-represented on appeal. Joram has filed no objection to Kimberly's motion to dismiss the mediation.

We are unable to substantiate Kimberly's allegations of abuse by Joram. Nevertheless, we deem it appropriate to allow the parties to forego mediation. Joram has not objected to Kimberly's motion. Accordingly,

IT IS ORDERED that the Motion to Dismiss Mediation is GRANTED.

The Clerk is directed to provide a copy hereof to the parties and to mediator Dana C. Christian.


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