What is the difference between an e-Mediator and a Special Master?

An e-Mediator is a facilitator bound by the applicable state's mediation rules.   Offers of compromises are afforded the same confidentiality as settlement offers are afforded in a tradition settlement mediation.  The e-Mediator is bound by confidentiality as defined by the applicable state mediation rules; therefore, the e-Mediator does not report to the court like a special master.  An e-Mediator is allowed to develop creative strategies based on confidential communications by the litigants.  Private caucus allows parties to include in-house counsel and/or IT/litigation support representatives in the decision-making process without the requirement of "taking testimony."

A special master appointed under Rule 53 may serve several functions for the court.  A special master may hold hearings, take testimony and report to the court.   A special master is permitted to adjudicate disputes, while an e-Mediator does not.   Most commonly, ex parte communications are not permitted.  This process is more formal than an e-Mediation.