(1) Any dispute with respect to denial of certification or proposed suspension or revocation of certification may be mediated at the request of the applicant for certification or certified operation as provided by 7 CFR 205.663. Procedures and time frames for mediation will be consistent with those established in 7 CFR 205.663 and standards for mediation established in 26-1-813 , MCA.
(2) Mediators must be impartial and knowledgeable about organic certification standards. A mediator shall be chosen by mutual consent. If a mediator cannot be chosen by mutual consent, the department shall select a mediator.
(3) Matters raised in mediation are privileged, private, and confidential, except that a mediated agreement may be disclosed to the secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.
(4) Persons can represent themselves or be represented by an attorney. It is understood that any person appearing on behalf of the person that requested mediation will have full settlement authority for the person they are representing. The mediator has discretion in establishing formal or informal mediation procedures. Where persons choose not to be represented by counsel, the mediator may choose to use informal procedures. However, mediators have the option to provide structure to the mediation and to apply rules of evidence and civil procedure.
(5) If mediation produces a settlement agreement, a written agreement will be prepared with the assistance of the mediator, if necessary. The person who requested mediation, the department's representative, and the mediator shall sign the settlement and provide it to the director. The director shall determine if the settlement is accepted by the department.
(6) The parties shall share equally the cost for the services of a mediator.
History: 80-11-601, MCA; IMP, 80-11-601, MCA; NEW, 2003 MAR p. 2848, Eff. 12/25/03.