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Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

Mediation in Today's News

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January 2015

  • Federal Judge Orders Archdiocese To Mediation With Abuse Victims

    The bankruptcy filing of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was ordered out of the courtroom and into the conference room Tuesday when a judge sent the case to mediation. The archdiocese, its insurance companies and attorneys for abuse victims will attempt to reach a mediated settlement under an order from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel. Both church and victims’ attorneys welcomed the decision, which Kressel called the most efficient way to settle the bankruptcy. Mediation also will help keep attorney fees in check, both sides stressed. However, mediation will be held behind closed doors, removing most bankruptcy actions from the public eye. Kressel named Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan to oversee the mediation. read

  • Dayton Police Hold Community Mediation On Race

    Police Officers and folks just like us come together to talk frankly about race relations Friday (January 16th, 2015) night. A heated debate surrounding recent police shootings on the Dayton Police Department's Facebook page led two officers to take the conversation a step further. "When people are killed or murdered it's a tragedy and it creates tension in the community no matter how it happens," Dayton Mediation Center's Tom Wahlrab said Friday. That tension found an outlet in Trotwood Friday. Officers from Dayton, Trotwood, and Cincinnati sat down with the folks they serve and protect. DPD Officer Zachary Williams is one of the organizers who says folks have really opened up about their fears. read

  • Detroit bankruptcy shows mediation can get the job done

    The Detroit bankruptcy, which many feared would drag on for years while the city's citizens suffered, was completely resolved in 16 months on a fully consensual basis. Many have asked how this was achieved and what can be learned from the Detroit experience. Although there are no doubt numerous lessons, we believe that the most significant takeaway is that mediation — the resolution of disputes through confidential negotiations led by a neutral facilitator — can produce faster, more satisfying and less rancorous resolution of disputes, and that such an approach can and should be used in other public policy disputes. read

  • A growing alternative to criminal trials: Mediation

    Since the Idaho Supreme Court set rules in 2011, mediation has emerged as a potent way to help prosecutors and defense lawyers avoid costly and time-consuming trials - the same benefit mediators have provided in civil cases for decades. Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor started a pilot program a few years ago using mediation in Nampa misdemeanor cases. It worked so well that his office expanded the program to felony cases. read

  • Princeton: Everybody tight-lipped about court-ordered mediation on sex harassment suit by police officers

    Lawyers had court-ordered mediation last month to resolve a discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit that a group of Princeton police officers filed against the town, the police department and former chief David J. Dudeck. The Princeton Council was updated in closed session Monday, with officials spending roughly 15 minutes on the issue behind closed doors. Officials and lawyers said this week that they would not discuss what had transpired during mediation in early December or any other details, including the size of a proposed settlement offer that the officers have made to end their lawsuit. Six current officers and one former officer sued in September 2013 in state Superior Court alleging they were the victims of sexual harassment and discrimination. Their civil suit claims that, among other things, Mr. Dudeck would use sexually graphic language to mock the officers and asked them about their sex lives, among other things. read

  • Dealing With Difficult Individuals in Mediation

    Sometimes the difficult character is another attorney, and sometimes the difficult character is one of the parties. Either way, a difficult individual, if not handled appropriately, can derail the mediation and doom it to failure. It is also important to recognize who should attempt to handle the difficult individual. read

  • Is Collaborative Divorce just mediation in disguise?

    This slightly provocative question legitimately arises from the many similarities between the process, approaches, and techniques used in both collaborative divorce and mediation cases. Indeed, both focus on information gathering, goal identification, and option development before solution. Both use interest based approaches, and focus on client self-determination as a guiding principle. Both provide confidentiality and the flexibility to include other professionals within the process. And both rely heavily on active listening, reframing, and emotional acknowledgements. This might lead some to say that Collaborative Divorce is just like mediation, only directed by the collaborative counsel instead of the mediator(s). read

  • The Benefits Of Mediation - Even If You Don’t Settle

    There are times when clients or other lawyers say that they don’t want to go to mediation because they feel it will be a waste of time because the case has no chance of settling. In my experience, mediation very rarely is a waste of time. Here are a few reasons why. read

  • Good faith in mediation: is it enforceable?

    The obligation to negotiate in good faith is often found in commercial agreements. Commercial contracts will often include a Dispute Resolution Clause that provides that if a dispute arises in connection with the contract, a party must not commence court proceedings unless that party has participated in mediation in good faith. As well, there are certain circumstances where there is a legislative requirement to attend mediation and participate in good faith. read

  • Federal Mediator Hears Bitter Opposition as Freight Dispute on US West Coast Continues

    After reading the latest press releases from the two sides involved in the West Coast port dispute one can have nothing but sympathy for the federal mediators now charged with trying to bring harmony in what has become an increasingly acrimonious row. Both the workers, represented by the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), and the employers in the form of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), issued statements yesterday which may as well have been in different languages, so at variance were they. read

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: what are the alternatives?

    Parties involved in modern litigation are increasingly encouraged to settle their disputes before the matter reaches trial. There is a range of options to try and help parties avoid Court, which are known collectively as "Alternative Dispute Resolution" or "ADR". The goal of ADR is to achieve a mutually satisfactory settlement that will save both parties the time and costs of litigation. The private and flexible nature of many of the options can also encourage the parties to speak more freely. This can assist in salvaging business relationships and reputations, making such methods far more appealing from a commercial perspective. ADR is a wide topic and the different options can be confusing. We therefore set out below an introduction to the forms of ADR that prove most useful for property disputes. read

  • Portland city attorneys seek mediation in city's appeal of federal judge's order regarding oversight of police reforms

    Portland city attorneys are scheduled to participate in a phone conference Wednesday to determine if the city's appeal of a federal judge' s order regarding his continued oversight of federally mandated police reforms is a case appropriate for mediation. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals mediator will start the call at 11 a.m. with attorneys from the city, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Portland Police Association to determine if the city's concerns can be resolved without a full appeal. read

  • Police union leader wants mediation with de Blasio

    Angered by City Hall, at least one NYPD union leader is going to ask Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to try and help broker peace between Mayor Bill de Blasio and rank-and-file cops. read

  • Moving from Preparation to Negotiation – How to Cause Failure in Mediation

    This article lists several actions by parties and counsel that can derail even the most straightforward mediation. read

  • How to Find a Good Divorce Mediator? Your Five Rules of Thumb

    If you came to the conclusion that you prefer to handle your divorce through mediation -- you have made the right choice. Choosing a good divorce mediator is an essential step, and crucial to the success of the process. Here are five rules of thumb in choosing the right mediator for your divorce. read

  • How To Win A China Arbitration

    Chinese companies are increasingly requiring their commercial contracts with American companies provide for disputes to be resolved by arbitration in China. This is especially true of China’s State Owned Entities (SOEs). Though most American companies believe that their nationality precludes them from getting a fair shake in such arbitrations, my own law firm’s experiences (mostly before CIETAC) have not borne this out. Our lawyers have generally felt that their arbitrators in China arbitrations have sought to be fair to both sides, without regard for the nationality of the parties. Here are some takeaways from the arbitration actions we have handled in China, with a focus on what it takes to prevail.  read

  • Be careful what you ask for in international arbitration

    Over the past 20 years, as the pace of economic globalization has accelerated, U.S. corporate counsel increasingly have been required to ponder the optimal dispute resolution mechanism to insert into their cross-border contracts, including whether to choose court litigation or international arbitration. The attitudes of corporate counsel toward international arbitration run the gamut. Energy companies, long accustomed to large investments in developing countries, are well familiar with international arbitration. Old line manufacturers who source materials from abroad or who sell products abroad, are also accustomed to international arbitration. By contrast, many technology companies, protective of their IP assets, prefer the U.S. courts to adjudicate intellectual property and complex commercial disputes and are wary of a process from which there is no right of appeal from a private arbitrator. As with all debates, the litigation versus arbitration decision is not black or white. read

  • Denver moves ahead with aerotropolis planning while mediation underway

    A consultant soon could begin drafting land use and transportation plans to map out an "aerotropolis" surrounding Denver International Airport. The planning process, outlined in a contract amendment under consideration by the City Council, may move forward while private mediation still is underway between Denver and its Adams County neighbors. They've wrangled over the city's aggressive plans for clusters of commercial development on DIA property. The Denver Post reported Monday that Mayor Michael Hancock says there has been significant progress in the talks and he's "optimistic" they will reach a resolution soon. But Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan — reacting to The Post's story — urged caution Monday. "For Denver to share in future development in that area requires discussions and negotiations that result in mutual agreement, and realistic expectations, not just optimism," Hogan said in a statement.  read

  • Mediation practice – when sorry seems to be the hardest word

    Last week I read a good post by US mediator Jan Schau about the power of a genuine apology in a mediation. She said, quite rightly, that an apology which is not perceived as genuine can do more harm than good. Anybody who has listened to the pre-recorded message of “regret” for yet another delayed commuter train will know exactly how this feels! So what makes an apology genuine? Or maybe more importantly, what will help it be perceived as genuine, whether it strictly is or not. read

December 2014

  • The Pillars of a Productive Mediation

    All too often, adversaries that try to mediate disputes walk away disappointed. In many cases, their frustration is caused by a lack of understanding of how successful mediation works, beginning with the development of a proper mindset. Mediation is the one time in a lawsuit where the parties and their attorneys control the process and decide the outcome, and should not be treated as a mock trial where you display the strength of your case. Over the years, as a mediator and as an advocate for clients in mediations, I have seen what works—and what does not work. Here, I outline what I view as the pillars of a productive mediation. read

  • Mediators Should Ask: How Are We Doing?

    In January 2006, the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution formed the Task Force on Improving Mediation Quality to investigate what factors define a "high quality" mediation practice. The 17 task force members were representative of diverse geographic, theoretical and substantive mediation practitioners and users of mediation services. After multiple focus groups in nine cities across the U.S. and Canada and reviewing more than 100 questionnaire responses, the task force noted that four specific issues consistently were identified as being important when evaluating mediation quality. read

  • West Coast port operators call for mediation as longshore talks stall

    After an exchange of proposals this month, the association representing the operators of West Coast ports called late Monday for federal mediation to resolve the contract talks with the longshore union. The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have been discussing a new contract for union workers at 29 West Coast ports for about seven months. Cargo is continuing to move through the ports -- albeit at a slower than usual pace -- since the previous contract expired at the end of June. read

  • Vatican Mediation in US-Cuba Relations Applauded

    Pope Francis' involvement in helping Cuba and the United States improve diplomatic relations was seen as a positive step forward at the Vatican on Thursday. The pontiff congratulated the U.S. and Cuba on their decision to establish diplomatic relations Wednesday, and the Vatican said it was ready to support the strengthening of bilateral relations. The Vatican also confirmed in a statement that its diplomats facilitated talks between the two countries, "resulting in solutions acceptable to both parties.' read

  • Judge: Progress on mediation with tribes over settlement

    There has been “major progress” in settlement negotiations between the government and a group of Indian tribes over inadequate federal payments for support costs on public programs the tribes took over administering, a federal judge wrote last week. Federal Magistrate Judge Karen Molzen wrote in a Dec. 16 filing in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico that negotiations in the settlement process are ongoing. The negotiations are the result of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the tribes, including the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota, that is potentially worth millions of dollars. read

  • IBM, state agree to take welfare contract dispute to mediation

    The long-simmering, multimillion-dollar legal fight over a failed state welfare modernization project is headed to a mediator. Attorneys for the state and IBM Corp. this week submitted a report informing the Indiana Supreme Court “they have agreed to engage in mediation” and have selected John Van Winkle of Van Winkle-Baten Dispute Resolution as the mediator. read

  • Court of Appeal Says Mediation Confidentiality Does Not Apply to Family Law Financial Disclosures

    The mediation confidentiality statutes do not apply to mandatory family law financial disclosures, even if the required documents are exchanged during mediation, the Court of Appeal for this district has ruled. Div. Three Thursday granted a writ of mandate to Gina Lappe, the ex-wife of Beverly Hills physician and medical services entrepreneur Murray Lappe. The writ requires Murray Lappe to produce the financial disclosure declaration that he prepared for the couple’s 2011 divorce proceedings, as discovery material in connection with Gina Lappe’s motion to set aside the judgment on grounds of fraud, duress, perjury, and mistake. read

  • 'We Must Negotiate With Islamic State', Says Senior Mediator

    When Padraig O'Malley says we must talk to Islamic State, he's speaking from experience. A seasoned mediator, O'Malley brought together warring parties in Iraq at the height of the sectarian conflict in 2007 and 2008, resulting in an agreement that formed the basis for political reconciliation in Iraq and helped curb the violence. He did this with the aid of negotiators from South Africa, and from Northern Ireland, where he had been instrumental in organizing the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended 30 years of sectarian conflict. read

  • Mediation for pool dispute?: District backing off lawsuit; forms committee to look into city’s proposed cost-sharing

    The wheels are in motion for a resolution to the dispute over usage and the funding model for the shared city and San Mateo Union High School District pool at Burlingame High School, while some are speaking out about their dismay regarding the tumultuous relationship between the two entities. The district is backpedaling on a lawsuit it threatened last week that was in relation to the city of Burlingame not responding to the district’s request for additional space in the 50-meter Olympic size pool for its teams and more payments from the city for its usage. Now, the district and city are both expressing interest in finding common ground. Trustee Linda Lees Dwyer explained the board is forming a committee to analyze the city proposal to reach an amicable resolution by early 2015. read

  • Mediation process could avoid legal battle over West Long Beach SCIG railyard project

    Long Beach city and school officials and other groups suing the city of Los Angeles over a controversial $500 million railyard project bordering West Long Beach will try to reach a settlement before the matter heads to trial next year. Three days of mediation is set to begin Wednesday in Santa Monica between the city of Los Angeles and the seven petitioners, which include the city of Long Beach, Long Beach Unified School District and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, said Michael Mais, assistant city attorney for Long Beach. The parties agreed to hire a judge with expertise in environmental matters found through a private alternative dispute resolution service that typically hires retired Supreme Court and federal court judges, Mais said. read

  • Child & Family to pilot mediation service for veterans

    Child & Family Services is launching a new mediation service aimed at veterans and their families. The program, operated by the agency's Center for Resolution and Justice, is funded by a $12,000 grant from the JAMS Foundation and the National Association for Community Mediation. It was among just six community mediation sites around the country funded through the program. Working with the five other centers, the organization will assess the need for mediation services for veterans and their families; build a pilot program; and provide leadership nationwide through training materials. read

  • Why Are Attorneys Afraid of Conflict in Mediation?

    The custom of not make opening statements in certain parts of the country and in certain substantive case types has now led to not even having a joint session during some mediations. Except in the rare situation where there is the potential for violence, this is a mistake. The parties and their counsel should at least be willing to sit in the same room with one another for some period of time while the mediator explains the process and lays the groundwork for a productive day. read

  • IRS Expands Post-Appeals Mediation for Offers in Compromise

    The Internal Revenue Service released a revenue procedure Friday providing rules for the nationwide rollout of post-appeals mediation for both Offer in Compromise and Trust Fund Recovery Penalty cases. The IRS Office of Appeals originally launched post-appeals mediation for both types of cases as a pilot program that was available in certain cities in December 2008 and is now expanding the program nationwide. Post-appeals mediation is available to help resolve disputes after unsuccessful negotiations with the IRS Office of Appeals and is available for both factual and legal issues. The mediator’s role is to help the parties reach their own agreement collaboratively, but the IRS noted that the mediator does not have settlement authority over any issue. read

  • Tech Sector Coming Around to IP Arbitration

    Major technology companies, anxious to protect their intellectual property, have generally chosen litigation over arbitration—even in cross-border disputes. But that may be changing.
    Increasingly, computer, software and other tech companies are exploring arbitration as an alternative to litigation, especially in international disputes, lawyers say. “Tech companies are starting to realize they don’t have a choice,” said Cedric Chao, co-head of DLA Piper’s international arbitration practice. “They’re still wary of arbitration, but they’re coming around." read

  • Seventh Circuit Interprets Wisconsin's Mediation Privilege

    When Wisconsin’s legislature enacted the state’s so-called “mediation privilege” in Wis. Stat. § 904.085, it expressly sought, in subsection (1) of that provision, “to encourage the candor and cooperation of disputing parties, to the end that disputes may be quickly, fairly, and voluntarily settled.” The privilege itself provides that “no oral or written communication relating to a dispute in mediation” is admissible in evidence or discoverable in any judicial or administrative proceeding. Wis. Stat. § 904.085(3)(a). Exceptions to the privilege exist, but they are few in number and relatively narrow—a point driven home in the Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, No. 13-3783 (7th Cir. Nov. 5, 2014), authored by Judge Ann Claire Williams. read

  • University of Oregon strike ends after 22-hour mediation session

    The strike by 1,500 University of Oregon graduate teaching fellows ended this morning after a 22-hour mediation session. Union officials said the new contract provides the teaching assistants with fair wages and a hardship fund to provide paid medical and family leave. Access to the fund is "protected by language in the collectively bargained agreement, and can be grieved if an employee is denied reasonable access to the fund," according to a statement from the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation. "I'm extremely proud of the graduate employees of GTFF," AFT-Oregon President David Rives said. "This contract is a monumental achievement for workers across all campuses." The union and supporters will hold a celebration rally at noon today at Matthew Knight Arena. The teaching assistants will return to work later today, union officials said. read

  • Pilots call for wider mediation in dispute with Lufthansa

    Pilots at Lufthansa have called for mediation to cover all areas of their dispute with the German airline's management, not only the early retirement row that has resulted in 10 strikes this year. Lufthansa offered last week to enter mediation to resolve the long-running dispute over early retirement benefits, seeking to halt the pummeling it was taking from repeated industrial action. The company estimated this week that labour strikes this year have cost it close to 200 million euros ($247.5 million) in operating profit. read

  • Expert Shares Top Tips for Mediation Preparation

    Preparation is key to a successful mediation, according to Kevin Quinley, founder and principal of Quinley Risk Associates. During a recent interview he shared his tips on how to best prepare for mediation. Quinley explained why adjusters are often wary of mediation. Adjusters suspect that the purpose of mediation often boils down to terrorizing them to pay more. Most mediators’ and judges’ stances towards adjusters at mediation is like Cuba Gooding’s character in “Jerry Maguire” show me the money,” said Quinley. "The starting premise of many, if not virtually all, mediations is it’s not whether the adjuster is going to pay. The only question is how much. That’s not a starting point that adjusters or many policyholders relish." read

  • The Art of Dialogue in Conflict Resolution: Mediation in Italy

    ROME, Italy—Prevention is better than a cure: that is just common sense. If applied in the field of justice, the slogan could prove once again to be right: the mediation instrument resolves conflicts before they go in front of a judge. Italy is a quarrelsome country, and the engulfed courtrooms are a proof. The European Commission has recently pointed out some serious shortcomings: Italy has the highest number of pending cases in relation to the population – 7 per 100 inhabitants, which means 9 million unresolved cases. Also, it takes more than 500 days to get a civil judgment at first degree (World Bank doubles this number), three times longer than France and Germany, which rank as the best in Europe. “In recent years we have seen how a culture of conflict has spread, rather than one of peaceful confrontation,” says attorney Irene Gionfriddo, spokesman for the Italian Forum of Ombudsmen, a non-profit organization that links a network of lawyers with private companies. read

  • Mediator's Proposals: God's Gift to Mediation or a Betrayal?

    Some 35 years ago, mediation was talked about in the United States as a tool to cure dissatisfactions with the civil justice system. The great early scholars of mediation — Frank Sanders, Christopher Moore, Leonard Riskin and others — envisioned a process focused on party autonomy that would allow disputants not merely to resolve an immediate legal problem, but to reorient their relationships into a productive path. Early mediations were usually conducted without counsel in a highly facilitative model in which the parties and the mediator remained together for all or most of the session. This model in legal mediations has largely given way as attorneys came to dominate the process. Legal mediation today relies heavily on private caucusing and has largely abandoned any substantive joint session. Mediators are likely to be highly directive, if not explicitly evaluative, in pushing the parties to an agreement. Party autonomy has receded, while the power of attorneys and the mediator to influence the result has expanded. One result of this evolution is the growing use of the mediator’s proposal to bring about closure. read

  • The Roger Sutton Fiasco and "Confidential" Mediation

    Equal employment opportunities commissioner Jackie Blue probably spoke for many this past week when she voiced her disquiet over Roger Sutton’s decision to speak publicly about a confidential sexual harassment case that led to his decision to step down from his role as CERA chief executive. read

  • Aging in Iowa: Mediation program aims to assist Iowa families with difficult aging issues

    Mom is growing older. Up to this point, she’s been driving by herself, but she is getting to the age when some family members are concerned about her safety. “It’s one of the big decisions that need to be made,” Iowa City-based mediator Laura Melton Tucker said. “When do (family members) put our foot down with mom and tell her we just aren’t comfortable with her driving anymore?” read

  • The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Settles Lawsuit Over White Bear Lake Water Levels

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently settled a lawsuit through mediation with plaintiffs over White Bear Lake water levels. Here are some questions and answers regarding the settlement and the agency’s ongoing efforts to advance long-term groundwater sustainability in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area. To see a copy of the settlement agreement, go to read

  • Woman to run 67 miles to raise money for mediation between families and prisoners

    At the center of a group embrace Friday outside Mondawmin Mall's bus depot, Lorig Charkoudian stood bundled up in three layers to help her stay warm on a 67-mile run to Hagerstown. The group — workers and volunteers from Community Mediation Maryland — said the conflict resolution program helps inmates stay out of prison for good by helping them repair relationships with their families. But first, they said, the program must make sure the families of the inmates can get to the prisons. That's where Charkoudian's run comes in. She's hoping to raise $10,000 in donations to pay for the $40 shuttle rides from Baltimore to Western Maryland, many of which leave from Mondawmin's depot. "In a way, the trip is a lot like the trip for the families," said Charkoudian, 41, an ultra-marathon runner who planned to travel 45 miles on foot Friday and another 22 miles on Saturday to the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown. read

  • Take a Selfie and Do Some Good for the Crown Heights Mediation Center

    Social media can be used to share news, opinions and cat pictures, but often, it’s also used by young people to promote violence, according to a local group. “When a fight breaks out, people pull out their phones and just yell ‘WorldStar’ and [they’re] ready to film it and put it online,” said Heather Day of the Crown Heights Mediation Center, an area nonprofit, referring to the popular video sharing site WorldStarHipHop. To combat that, kids at the mediation center are telling their peers it’s “not worth the likes,” Day said, one of the many anti-violence messages already sent through the group’s “#UNdoviolence” campaign, a social media effort to spread the word about CHMC’s mission. The idea, Day said, is to get young people (or whoever wants to participate) to take selfies with messages of hope, peace and anti-violence for their communities in Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. read

November 2014

  • Delaware Center for Justice Elects Ashley Biden, Daughter of Vice-President, as Executive Director

    Ashley Biden was voted executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice (DCJ), effective Nov. 13. The announcement comes after the departure of Joanna Champney, who served DCJ for three years. Biden, the daughter of Vice President Joe Biden, served under Champney for two years as associate executive director. "Ashley has demonstrated sound and strategic leadership of the direct service programs at DCJ, and she will continue to lead DCJ with commitment and integrity," Champney said in a release. read

  • Do barristers and mediation mix?

    Are barristers a useful tool in mediation, or does too much time have to be spent calming their egos before the mediation can get going?  This question was touched on briefly at a mediation debate I attended a few weeks ago, and it sparked a bit of a storm at the time on Twitter.  I tweeted a comment by Frances McCarthy, a hugely respected and experienced personal injury lawyer and mediator, that the problem with some mediations is actually the barristers. McCarthy said that while the parties go to a mediation with the mindset that they want to settle the case, sometimes the barrister’s attitude is that they are there for a fight; and valuable time has to be spent calming their egos before the process can really get started. She felt that some mediations would go better if the barristers weren’t actually there at all. read

  • Arbitrate or Mediate But Don't Litigate Entertainment Disputes

    Gone are the days when media moguls and professional athletes would voluntarily hang around the courthouse to litigate contract disputes. Today the entertainment and sports industry increasingly use arbitration and mediation to resolve conflicts. Former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger said to the American Bar Association, "Our litigation system is too costly, too painful, too destructive, too inefficient for a civilized people." There is no question arbitration, and especially mediation, help salvage relationships in the entertainment and sports industry that litigation would otherwise ossify. Although arbitration and mediation can take many different forms, in general, the arbitrator renders a decision at the end of an arbitration hearing, and that decision is final and binding. Mediation, on the other hand, is a process wherein the parties meet with a mutually selected impartial person who assists them in the negotiation of their differences. read

  • Fairbanks school district, family to enter mediation in sex abuse lawsuit

    Attorneys for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District hope to come to a resolution soon in a civil lawsuit with the family of a student who allegedly was raped by a tutor at Hutchison High School. Both sides in the lawsuit plan to meet for mediation in Seattle on Dec. 1 to come to a consensus on the cost of a settlement. The school district approached the family about the possibility of entering into mediation during the summer, according to Michael Kramer, the attorney representing the family. Kramer said the two sides scheduled a full-day session for the mediation, during which he said he believes both sides will participate in a good-faith effort to resolve the claim. The case will likely have to be resolved in court if the two sides cannot come to an agreement in mediation.  read

  • Canadian Disputants Await Clarification of Mediation Privilege’s Boundaries

    Today, Canadians are mediating their disputes in record numbers. One partial explanation for this phenomenon is that mediation purports to keep discussions between parties confidential, traditionally backstopped by settlement privilege. But the extent to which parties can pierce this bubble of confidentiality and use information disclosed in the course of mediation in subsequent court proceedings is an evolving issue. read

  • How To Select The Best Mediator Is a Must Read for Everyone

    Generally speaking, mediation is unregulated, which means that anyone may call themselves a "mediator" and any process involving a "mediator" is called "mediation." On October 22, 2014, I read a wonderful eBook by Brandon S. Peters titled "How to Select the Best Mediator." In his book, Mr. Peters makes the following statement, which I agree with completely: "Your success at mediation is directly tied to your choice of mediator.... The three most important elements of selecting the right mediator for your case: (1) Approach; (2) Style; and (3) Background.... Different cases require different approaches to mediation...." read

  • Family Strife Over Elder Care Consider An Elder Mediator

    One or both parents requiring care can create serious stresses and conflicts within families. Sometimes disagreements and misunderstandings over elder care or inheritance issues can lead families to break apart, affecting descendants for generations. To avoid this, elder mediation is available to resolve family disputes that otherwise may go unaddressed or lead to costly and traumatic litigation. A successful resolution can preserve family ties to the benefit of the entire family tree. read

  • Top Missouri court overturns St. Louis County foreclosure mediation law

    The Missouri Supreme Court has overturned a St. Louis County ordinance enacted during the housing crisis to help stave off foreclosures.  Adopted by the County Council in 2012, the “Mortgage Foreclosure Intervention Code” required creditors to post fees totaling $450, of which $100 was nonrefundable, to cover the cost of a “mediation coordinator.” Lenders that failed to comply with the code faced potential fines of up to $1,000. The council enacted the ordinance to keep homeowners from abandoning foreclosed properties which might then fall into disrepair. Passage of the bill came at a time when declining property values were taking a toll on county revenue from property taxes. The Missouri Bankers Association and the Jonesburg State Bank challenged the ordinance saying state law guiding real estate lending superseded the intent of the action taken by the County Council. Judge George W. Draper III, writing the majority opinion in the case, agreed with the bankers. Counties and municipalities, the justice concluded, lack the authority to enact broad legislation to address a broad “national crisis.” State law, Draper wrote “limits” the authority of local government to “participate in a mediation program prior to foreclosure … or face criminal prosecution.” read

  • Mediation, dispute resolution programs are community assets

    Last month in San Antonio volunteers and lawyers honored the service of Marlene LaBenz-Hough, retiring executive director of the Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center (BCDRC). Under Marlene’s guidance, the center has led efforts in combating violence in San Antonio public schools by working in partnership with the San Antonio Bar Foundation (SABF). The BCDRC was awarded a Criminal Justice Department grant to develop and implement the “Amigos in Mediation” (AIM) Peer Mediation Program. Now in its 15th year, the AIM program helps schools establish their own peer mediation programs by teaching school faculty and students ways to resolve conflicts without violence. read

  • Amesbury Middle School teens honored as mediators

    Two thirteen-year old students received a standing ovation from the assembled guests at the recent 20th Anniversary Celebration of the North Shore Community Mediation Center. Hanna Scotch and Michael Woo, two 13-year-old students at the Amesbury Middle School were recipients of the Derek Sheckman Fair Play Award for Youth Mediation. Having successfully completed the peer mediation program in their school, both young teens affirmed that the mediation training has taught them to be good communicators — and especially good listeners —which are among the mediation skills they hope to use even beyond the school day. read

  • State ready to expand ag mediation to cover federal land, oil and gas

    Proposed changes in state rules would significantly expand the roles of South Dakota’s mediation program for agriculture borrowers and creditors. The program would be allowed to cover disputes involving federal land and oil and gas properties. The Legislature’s rules review committee will consider the proposal Wednesday. Legislators adopted changes in state law in the 2013 session on votes of 70-0 in the House of Representatives and 33-0 in the Senate. The state Department of Agriculture is bringing the rules to implement the changes 20 months later. The expansion resulted from a legislative study committee’s work on oil and gas issues in 2012. read

  • In Rare Feat of Legal Mediation, NJ Company's Settlement Over Faulty Implants Tops $1 Billion

    Medical device manufacturer Howmedica Osteonics Corp. of Mahwah, New Jersey, has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to thousands of patients who received faulty hip implants.
    Local participants say the settlement is notable not only for its high value but also for its unconventional process, which focused on speed and mediation rather than litigation. read

  • Quabbin Mediation veterans program becomes national model

    While working late one night, Quabbin Mediation Executive Director Sharon Tracy got a call from a distraught veteran who had just come home from a tour of duty in Iraq: The mother of his child had handed their baby over to him and walked out. “So he called to find out about mediation,” she said. After Tracy described what it could provide, “he said he would think about it but never called back. I started thinking that, if I’d had a mediator who was a veteran, it might have made a difference.” Tracy decided Quabbin Mediation should provide mediation training to military veterans and their families, “so there isn’t that cultural gap” between soldiers and civilian mediators, who haven’t experienced what veterans may face after their years of service. read

  • Mediator says South Sudan rivals agree to end war

    South Sudan's warring parties committed to stop fighting and bring their months-long conflict to an end without conditions, the chief mediator for regional African group IGAD said on Saturday after two days of talks in the Ethiopian capital. Fighting erupted last December in South Sudan, which declared independence from Sudan in 2011, after months of political tension between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy, Riek Machar. Seyoum Mesfin told reporters the IGAD bloc had agreed to freeze assets and impose travel bans, among other measures, on any party that violated the agreement. "The parties commit to an unconditional, complete and immediate end to all hostilities, and to bring the war to an end,"   read

  • Federal mediator: Tentative deal reached in Atlanta Symphony labor dispute

    Allison Beck, acting director of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, began mediating the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra labor dispute on Oct. 7. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which restarted stalled contract negotiations between Atlanta Symphony Orchestra management and musicians a month ago, released a statement late Friday afternoon announcing a tentative accord between the two sides. “The parties have been faced with complex issues and some very tough choices, which they were dedicated to resolving,” FMCS acting director Allison Beck said. “This tentative agreement will help ensure the continuing viability of one of the premier cultural institutions of the South.” read

  • Indiana high court suggests mediation in IBM case

    The Indiana Supreme Court has asked attorneys for the state and IBM Corp. to consider mediation to settle their dispute over IBM's failed attempt to privatize Indiana's welfare services. Chief Justice Loretta Rush said in Thursday's order that the court "encourages the parties to consider engaging in mediation to seek a mutually agreeable resolution of their dispute." Her order directs the two sides to inform the court within 30 days if they've agreed to mediation. If that mediation effort fails, the court — which heard arguments in the case on Oct. 30 — will move ahead to reach a decision in the dispute. read

  • Early Mediation Offered for Women's World Cup Players

    Players protesting the plan to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf were denied a fast-tracked hearing in Canada over the dispute. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario instead offered early mediation between the players and the Canadian Soccer Association. But the CSA announced late Friday it would not take part in mediation. The tribunal’s ruling and subsequent rejection by the CSA came the same day a group of U.S. senators wrote soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, urging it to reconsider the decision to play on artificial turf. FIFA and the CSA are overseeing the World Cup, which will be played in six Canadian cities next June and July. The players, including Abby Wambach, claim that holding the World Cup on artificial turf amounts to gender discrimination because men play soccer’s premier tournament on real grass. read

  • Qatari Mediation: Between Ambition and Achievement

    From 2006 to 2011, Qatar was highly active as a conflict mediator within the greater Middle East, seeking political consensus in Lebanon as well as securing a key peace agreement regarding the Darfur conflict. What were the drivers of Qatari mediation during this time, and how successful were Qatari negotiators in their efforts? How has Qatar’s foreign policy during the Arab Spring affected its ability to act as a mediator? How might Qatar expand its mediation capacity in the future? read

  • Singapore International Mediation Institute Launched to Set World-Class Mediation Standards

    A new institute has been established to set world-class mediation standards in Singapore and the region. The Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI), which is housed at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law, was officially launched today by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education. The launch event was attended by about 100 local and international lawyers, regulators and academics. read

  • Getting divorced: a user’s guide

    So you’re getting divorced. Quite how you feel about that prospect will, of course, depend on the circumstances. Are you divorcing your spouse or being divorced by them? No one likes to feel like a victim of circumstances we cannot control – that is one of the worst sources of stress that life can throw at us. But relationships are a delicate balance. If your partner decides it’s all over, there is in reality very little you can do. You might – might – be able to persuade them to give it another go, but the cat is out of the bag and the genie is out of the bottle. That delicate balance has taken quite a knock. You cannot unsay the word ‘divorce’. read

  • City of Anniston, RMC board to continue mediation through phone, email

    City of Anniston officials plan to mediate with the Regional Medical Center board through phone and email to settle their recent legal disputes in lieu of meeting together like last week. Bruce Downey, city attorney, said city representatives will likely not reconvene with board representatives in a meeting to negotiate unless it's considered absolutely necessary. The decision comes after both parties spent around 12 hours with a neutral mediator in Birmingham Oct. 28 in an attempt to settle their legal disagreements outside of court. Both parties will likely continue to negotiate through the mediator, but by phone and email. "If it's necessary, we'll reconvene," Downey said. "But I think we could continue remotely ... we'd just call and email (the negotiator) and vice versa." read

  • Gainesville Rotary speaker lauds use of mediation to settle civil disputes

    On the eve of the largest intercollegiate mediation tournament in the world, a Georgia trial and appellate court judge from Gainesville said Monday the alternate form of dispute resolution “can usually create better outcomes than trials” in resolving civil disputes. Speaking to the Gainesville Rotary Club, former Georgia Appeals Court Judge J.D. Smith said that mediation and its cousin, arbitration, are both expanding as methods of choice for resolving civil disputes in the United States and abroad because they lead to quicker results at less expense to all parties than lengthy trials in traditional courtrooms. “Mediation for me is satisfying because you get to hammer out some kind of shared solutions that both sides can live with,” Smith said. “You are getting to decisions and solutions that you are never going to achieve with a judge and a jury in a courtroom.” read

  • Judge Orders Mediation in Guardrail Lawsuit

    Trinity Industries, a maker of highway guardrails that are suspected of having a dangerous defect, and a whistle-blower have been ordered to enter mediation after the company lost a $175 million verdict for defrauding the United States government. On Tuesday, a federal judge said Trinity and Joshua Harman, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration under the False Claims Act, must mediate their dispute by the end of the year. Last week, the company was found liable for fraud because it did not report changes to its ET-Plus guardrail system to federal authorities for years. The judge, Rodney Gilstrap, said that the mediator could invite the Justice Department and the Federal Highway Administration, which did not participate in the lawsuit, to be involved. read

October 2014

  • Arbitrators Finally 'Get' E-discovery

    For years, many proponents of arbitration have considered the cost and delays of discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) inconsistent with core principles of arbitration such as efficiency and cost-effectiveness. That view led many arbitral bodies and arbitrators to step only cautiously and slowly into the e-discovery realm. They were unsure of how to implement it until new rules were issued.  Domestic arbitral bodies, beset with criticisms of arbitration generally, have made and continue to make changes with regard to ESI. Both JAMS and the American Arbitration Association (AAA) now have protocols for e-discovery, as do several of the international arbitration providers. read

  • Six Tips for a Simple Divorce

    Whatever the trigger for a couple taking such a step, divorce is never an easy or pleasant experience. But there are approaches which can make it more straightforward and somewhat less personally taxing, particularly if there are children involved. Mediation and collaborative law are two possible approaches. Here is a quick introduction to the areas you'll need to think about when deciding what the right approach is for you: read

  • Prevention is key to stopping bullying, several experts say

    New research is showing that previous attempts to slow down bullying in schools are failing. New recommendations from some of the nation’s experts are changing the way many perceive the importance of prevention of bullying, rather than treating it after it begins. read

  • Arab Approaches for Conflict

    Laura and Saeed discuss conflict resolution in the Arab world as it relates to political and ideological disputes. The conversation is based on a new book, "Arab Approaches for Conflict Resolution: Mediation, Negotiation and Settlement of Political Disputes." Guests include the book's authors, Director of Wayne State University's Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Fred Pearson and Adjunct faculty member at Wayne State and expert in Middle East conflict and inter-cultural conflict management Nahla Hamdan. read

  • Prepare for Mediation Success: Six Tips for Writing a Strong Brief

    Writing a persuasive brief is one of the most important things an attorney can do to prepare for mediation of a business dispute. A good brief provides the opposing side with information they need to consider. Perhaps even more important though is an excellent brief that can help the mediator assist with successful resolution. Here are six tips. read

  • USDA Re-certifies North Dakota Mediation Service

    Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recertified the North Dakota Mediation Service (NDMS) through Sept. 30, 2015. “USDA’s Farm Service Agency has informed me that the mediation service meets all federal statutory and regulatory requirements and will continue to receive federal funds for the coming year,” Goehring said. “This certification means North Dakota farmers and ranchers can call on NDMS to provide them with an affordable means of resolving disputes and often avoiding costly litigation.” NDMS handled more than 60 cases this past year. The cases included credit issues, landowner disputes and conflicts arising from energy development. read

  • How do I negotiate with my spouse's lawyer?

    There’s plenty of guidance available to lawyers and judges on how to deal with an unrepresented litigant but I haven’t seen much out there aimed at unrepresented litigants themselves on how to deal with your ex’s lawyer and the judge in your case. Personally I think there is a need for such advice because it is increasingly common to find yourself up against a lawyer representing your ex, especially with the effective abolition last year of legal aid for private family law matters. read

  • Fighting Your Broker in Arbitration? Finra 'Judges' Give Some Tips

    You may think you have an open-and-shut case against a stockbroker who's a 10 on the sleaze scale. But the arbitrators who hear cases against Wall Street's rogues say even investors with good cases can lose when they're not prepared for their hearings. A panel of four arbitrators spoke Thursday at the annual meeting of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, a group of lawyers who represent investors who've been fleeced. They shared ideas about what works and what doesn't when investors look to be made whole after investment losses. Every investor has to agree to use arbitration run by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, rather than court, before he or she can open a brokerage account, so it's worth knowing what arbitrators want, and what turns them off. read

  • Teen's jail death lawsuit heads to mediation

    The family of a teenager who died in police custody arrived in Jacksonville Thursday for a court-ordered mediation. Nineteen-year-old Daniel Linsinbigler asphyxiated while in custody at the Clay County Jail in March 2013 in a death that has since been ruled a homicide. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, and Friday's mediation session will be the first time a settlement has been broached. According to police reports, the teen was picked up March 2, 2013, after barging into hotel rooms at the Stay Inn Suites in Orange Park, where he was living. He had a history of mental illness, and apparently suffered a psychotic break after smoking a once-legal convenience store drug, known as K2 or Spice. "He made a choice to use synthetic marijuana," his mom Valerie Linsinbigler told First Coast News earlier this year, "and it landed him in jail." Daniel was arrested while running around naked, proclaiming he was Jesus Christ and charged with two misdemeanors. But as his mother notes, he ended up paying the ultimate price. read

  • Mediation system to help cabbies resolve disputes with companies

    In Singapore, taxi drivers can now turn to a more structured system to help settle disputes with their taxi companies quickly and amicably. The Taxi Industry Mediation system is a collaboration between the Land Transport Authority (LTA), taxi companies and National Taxi Association (NTA). It was launched in July, and is on trial for six months. The National Taxi Association receives about 10 cases a week on a range of issues which drivers face with their taxi companies, insurance firms or between drivers themselves. A top complaint is drivers feeling they were unfairly terminated due to service lapses. read

  • Why Celebrities Should Opt for Fast Mediation When Divorcing

    It's just three years ago when I personally invited Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore to settle their divorce over a weekend in one of our DivorceHotels in order to avoid a never ending process. In the end they didn't take me up on my offer and as it turned out, it took 2 whole years to get the divorce finalized after they had split up. From that moment on, celebrity divorces started to fascinate me. read

  • Jerry Jones Assault Lawsuit Dismissed Following Mediation

    A lawsuit alleging sexual assault against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been dismissed following mediation that lasted until 3 a.m. Thursday.  In the lawsuit, former exotic dancer Jana Weckerly accused Jones of forcibly touching her genitals and kissing her on the lips without her consent more than 5 years ago. Weckery alleges that the 2009 assault took place on the night a series of racy pictures were taken. Those pictures were released last month. Jones has denied the allegations. According to a public document, the plaintiff will get nothing, as the suit was filed outside the statute of limitations. “We are pleased with the Court’s Judgment against Ms. Weckerly. Ms. Weckerly’s allegations were false. This case is over,” said Jones’ attorney, Levi McCathern. Attorney Ed Klein says that there may be undisclosed terms of the agreement. read

  • Mediation talks in Hong Kong to be televised

    Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong are brushing off an accusation that they are being influenced by foreign forces. Despite the standoff, student protest leaders are to resume talks with the government on Tuesday. For the first time in weeks the drama in Hong Kong is moving from the streets to the bargaining table. Mediation talks are set for Tuesday night and they will be televised. In the meantime protesters seem to be listening to their leaders, to sit-in, stay calm and avoid provoking police. Even the talks' mediator warned against rising expectations. The mediator was asked what the odds are of reaching an agreement? "I am not going to speculate at all about whether there will be a resolution but I hope because as part of the agreement this is not the only dialogue that will take place,” said Leonard Cheng. read

  • Russia-Ukraine-EU talks to conclude interim deal on Russian gas start in Brussels

    Russia and Ukraine with the mediation of the European Union launched talks in the trilateral format in Brussels on conclusion of an interim agreement on Russian natural gas supplies, Olga Golant, a spokeswoman for the Russian energy minister, said on Tuesday. Russia and Ukraine met for gas talks on Tuesday to discuss the issue of Ukraine’s gas debt repayment and natural gas supplies to Europe in winter. The EU is seeking guarantees for stable gas supplies in winter. Otherwise, Ukraine may siphon off Russia’s Europe-bound natural gas. Russia also wants to ensure stable gas supplies to European consumers and recover a $5.3 billion debt from Ukraine, which acknowledges only a debt of $3.1 billion. read

  • McIlroy confirms break due to legal dispute

    Rory McIlroy has confirmed he plans to take a break from golf to concentrate on the legal battle with his former management company.McIlroy intends to skip the BMW Masters, which begins on October 30 at Lake Malaren, and the following week's HSBC Champions event to prepare for the upcoming legal battle with Horizon. Lawyers representing the Northern Irishman and Horizon Sports Management failed to reach an agreement in mediation last week, so the long-running legal battle is now set to be concluded in court. read

  • Getting a fair shake in arbitration

    The Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association has made one valid point in its criticism of the pool of arbitrators used by Finra to settle suits by investors against brokers, but it also makes a number of unjustified assumptions about members of the pool. In a study it released last week, PIABA implied that investors cannot get a fair shake from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.'s arbitrators because 80% of the roster is male, the average age is 67 and 73% have advanced degrees. It noted that “PIABA's research shows Finra's arbitrator pool consists primarily of elderly men who have socioeconomic status that puts them out of touch with the average investor.” It also reported that the “win rate” for claimants dropped from about 60% in the early 1990s to 42% in 2013. read

  • Mediation talks in Rory McIlroy case to take place this week

    Mediation talks between golfer Rory McIlroy and his former sports management agency over a disputed fees agreement will take place this week, the Commercial Court heard today. Mr McIlroy is suing Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management Ltd along with two other companies, Gurteen Ltd, with a registered address in Malta, and Dublin-based Canovan Management Services. He claims a representation agreement signed by him in December 2011 is not valid and unenforceable on grounds including undue influence. He says that agreement was signed when he was aged just 22, inexperienced and without the benefit of independent legal advice. read

  • For people filing complaints against New Orleans police, mediation now an option

    A man feels disrespected by a police officer during a traffic stop. A woman believes a cop ignored her calls for help. An arrestee feels an officer was rude. These are among the types of situations that most commonly prompt residents to file a complaint at the New Orleans Police Department. Such matters are investigated, but in most cases the citizen receives a letter a few months later saying the allegations could not be proven. Meanwhile, the officer involved is skipped over for promotions. But now there is a new option available that officials hope will prove more satisfying for residents and cops. If both the officer and the person who filed the complaint agree, they can now opt for mediation, a face-to-face airing of grievances. read

  • Pokémon to Mediation

    The civil war intensified. My two teammates fired shots at one another. I buried my face in my palms, avoiding the crossfire. The battlefield was a dorm room at the California Institute of Technology two summers ago. Our mission, as students in a high school computer science program, was coding a game using the programming language, Python. We chose Lights Out, originally programmed by Steve Jobs. Yet our mission seemed impossible given the explosive arguments of my teammates, Goku and Vegeta. read

  • Legal mediation: Resolving confidential matters by private agreement

    Confidential and swift resolutions to private legal matters are paramount, especially when problems are solved, confidences are preserved, and long-term relationships prevail. State-certified and trained mediators provide a formal structure and process for resolving legal issues by mutual agreement without public litigation. read

  • Blocking the Use of Mediation Documents in Litigation

    The central question is not whether the documents were produced or used in mediation. If that were the question, a party could shield from discovery each and every document it uses in connection with a mediation, which naturally would encourage document dumps in mediation. The issue is whether the challenged documents existed before the parties engaged in mediation. read

  • Mediator to begin work on Atlanta Symphony impasse

    Allison Beck won’t be walking into an unknown situation Tuesday when she relaunches negotiations between the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and its locked-out musicians. Last summer, Beck, the acting director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, talked the New York Metropolitan Opera and its workers and musicians from a dozen unions back into the concert hall and helped save the season. But that was before a lockout took place. She will begin the difficult work of trying to rescue the ASO’s season after a monthlong lockout during which rancor and tension over pay, benefits and the size of the orchestra have swollen to an infected state. read

  • 73 Percent Satisfied With Mediators Work - Survey

    At least 73 per cent of Rwandans are satisfied with the performance of mediation committees, locally known as Abunzi, according to a survey. The survey, jointly conducted by several local and international organisations in partnership with Ministry of Justice, was made public at a roundtable dialogue in Kigali on Thursday. It evaluated the contribution of mediation committees toward enhancing access to justice and conflict resolution in Rwanda. It indicates that there is high level of satisfaction, with at least 73 per cent of respondents contented with the role of mediation committees, though in some areas there was a feeling that some mediators are corrupt. read

  • Schenectady students using peer mediation to solve problems

    At Schenectady High School, students are being trained to be peer mediators. They help other students deal with problems without resorting to violence or bullying. It also allows them to take care of things without going directly to the administration. “They deal with a lot of stressful situations, in the community, in the school and every day we get to come together and try to make it easier on them to come to school,” said Kashiff Thompson, Program Coordinator. “I see a huge difference in people individually and now it's just like the whole school, the result is go to peer mediation,” said Keimani Griffin, a student mediator. read

  • Carol Williams earns state mediation award

    Carol Williams, mediation services coordinator for the 4th Judicial Circuit, received a state merit award for her dedication to education at the 22nd annual Florida Dispute Resolution Center conference. She has worked in the circuit for 22 years, including the past 14 years in the circuit’s mediation department, which trains mediators. Before that she was assistant to the court administrator. The Dispute Resolution Center is part of the Florida Supreme Court. Williams supervises the staff and assistants in the circuit, as well as the volunteers, of which there are currently about 55, she said. Williams also mediates cases in family and county courts. read

  • The Promise and Perils of “Med-Arb”

    When disputing parties tire of mediation (because it is too “weak”) or fear arbitration (because it is too “controlling”), they seek an Alternative Dispute Resolution solution that is “just right.” Recently, I’ve heard a number of highly talented negotiators, and one famous law school, endorse med-arb as the best of all ADR worlds. The advantages, however, come with caveats. read

  • Google Wallet Privacy Dispute Heads To Mediation

    A legal challenge to Google's practice of disclosing information about app purchasers to developers could be settled out of court, according to recent legal documents. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal recently signed an order sending the 2-year-old lawsuit to mediation. Grewal gave Google and the users who are suing until Feb. 6, 2015 to meet with a mediator, who will try to forge a resolution. The move could bring an end to a lawsuit stemming from Google's controversial 2012 changes to its privacy policy. The revised policy allowed Google to combine data about users collected across various platforms, including YouTube and Android. In the past, Google didn't aggregate that data to create marketing profiles. read

  • Oregon foreclosure mediation program averts hundreds of foreclosures, but lenders question value

    August was the busiest month yet for Oregon's foreclosure mediation program, with homeowners and their mortgage servicers meeting nearly 400 times during the month. It's still the case that the vast majority of foreclosures go through without a meeting between homeowner and lender, typically either because the homeowner can't be reached or because they choose not to pay a fee to start the process. But in hundreds of cases that end up in a "resolution conference," homeowners on the brink of foreclosure have reached an agreement with their lender to avoid it. And even those who don't avert a foreclosure overwhelmingly say in surveys that they approve of the program.  read

  • Cotton group introduces mediation to resolve reneged contracts

    The International Cotton Association said it is introducing mediation services to help resolve disputes over reneged contracts that have blocked hundreds of blacklisted firms from doing business. The group, which oversees the global cotton trade, said mediation would be another, speedier tool to resolve disputes, in addition to the current methods of negotiation and arbitration. read

  • SEC to take deeper look at Wall St. arbitration reform plan

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is taking the unusual step of extending its review of a plan to restrict industry veterans from serving as arbitrators in many legal disputes between investors and brokerages, citing questions about whether the proposal complies with securities laws. The plan to revamp how arbitrators are selected was filed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in June and must be approved by the SEC before it becomes a final rule. The plan "raises questions" about whether it is in line with laws that require FINRA rules to protect investors, among other things, the SEC said in a notice published on Wednesday seeking additional input from the public. read

  • Ed FitzGerald records lawsuit should go to mediation, Cuyahoga County urges Ohio Supreme Court

    Cuyahoga County, on behalf of County Executive Ed FitzGerald, has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to assign a court mediator to a suit the Ohio Republican Party filed in an effort to obtain records of FitzGerald coming and going from a county parking garage. The court's decision may figure into whether FitzGerald has to appear Monday for a deposition in the case. As part of the motion, the county asked for a stay in the case while a mediator works with the two sides. A spokesman for the Republican Party said it opposes mediation, describing it as "a shameless attempt to stonewall the public" that should have been sought earlier. read

  • Trial, mediation set in West Palm Beach “chapel” condo spat

    Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Catherine M. Brunson has set trial for January 2015, and has ordered mediation, in the legal challenge by Citizens for Thoughtful Growth to the condominium at the waterfront “Chapel by the Lake” site. Citizens, a neighborhood group, is asking courts to declare that the city of West Palm Beach broke its own rules in January 2014 when it approved the luxury condo. read

  • EnergyBuzz: Arbitration for Energy Disputes

    It's almost 2015; do you know where your arbitration clause is? In the past year, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, the American Arbitration Association and other arbitration forums substantially revised their rules to streamline the process, limit discovery, expressly allowing for dispositive motions and make arbitration more efficient and economical. Although arbitration itself is not new to the energy sector, the proliferation of shale plays due to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracing, coupled with an increase in political and economic volatility, has spawned a surge in complex energy disputes that often cross jurisdictional boundaries. read

September 2014

  • Reimagining Arbitration

    The rapid growth of commercial arbitration has not been without drawbacks. As counsel have become more sophisticated in dispute process design, arbitrations now often incorporate many elements of a court trial. The inevitable consequence of these changes has been increased expense and delay. To preserve the benefits of arbitration, it is necessary to address this issue from several perspectives, starting with the arbitration clause. A thoughtful process usually should include a negotiation or mediation step, reasonable limits on the scope of discovery, overall time limits on the arbitration, and the designation of one rather than three arbitrators whenever possible. read


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