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Mediation in Today's News

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October 2014

  • 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

  • Defusing Office Drama

    Where there are people, there is conflict, and your office is no different. It doesn’t matter if there are just two employees or two hundred, there are going to be fights; there is going to be drama. Unfortunately, that makes life difficult for many of us. I don’t like drama. I’d rather just avoid getting involved and let it play out. But when you run a business, you can’t think that way. Too much office drama can make your business grind to a halt, and it’s up to you to help resolve sticky situations. read

  • Mediation Techniques for Producers (and Everyone): Dealing with the Off-Stage Dramas

    Did you make it through the festival season unscathed? Many artists find themselves self-producing in the summer and having to embark on sensitive relationships with directors and others. This unique workshop will offer techniques for communicating effectively and productively as you embark on sensitive artistic relationships, now and in the future, as well as offer guidance and clues about finding colleagues who will work collaboratively. read

  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and its musicians agree to mediation

    Late Saturday, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra sent out a press release saying that the ASA management and its musicians had agreed to mediation to try to find consensus on a contract. The ASO management and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Players’ Association (ASOPA) agreed to restart collective bargaining agreement discussions using a federal mediator. The mediator is Allison Beck, deputy director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. She served as the mediator during the Metropolitan Opera Musicians’ labor dispute in August. read

  • Help in Quality-of-Life Disputes with Neighbors?

    I'm fighting with my neighbor. It's gotten to the point where I want to sue her for leaving her garbage laying around and letting her dogs bark all day and night. Don't I have a right to a quiet, peaceful home? But my board wants me to try mediation. What is that? Is it worth it? read

  • Arbitration Clauses Must Be Explicit About Waiver of Suit

    An arbitration clause in a consumer contract is not enforceable unless it clearly indicates that the plaintiff is giving up the right to go to court, a unanimous New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Sept. 23. Arbitration is favored under both federal and state law but that favored status “does not mean that every arbitration clause, however phrased, will be enforceable,” Justice Barry Albin wrote in Atalese v. U.S. Legal Services Group. “By its very nature, arbitration involves a waiver of a party’s right to have her claims and defenses litigated in court,” Albin acknowledged. “But an average member of the public may not know—without some explanatory comment—that arbitration is a substitute for the right to have one’s claim adjudicated in a court of law.” read

  • Martin Indyk Describes Collapse of Peace Talks

    What was supposed to have revived the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks – allowing negotiations to develop organically – instead helped kill them, Martin Indyk, until recently the top U.S. peace broker, told JTA in a candid and wide-ranging interview. Speaking by phone Sept. 19 while in transit to his native Australia for the High Holidays, Indyk described the collapse of the talks in April and the opportunities that have emerged from the war that ensued. He also opened up about his own return to the think tank world, where he faces accusations that foreign donors – particularly Qatar, which funds Hamas and other extremist groups – exert undue pressure on domestic policy discussions. read

  • Barristers take on solicitors in battle for survival: cost of divorce to fall

    A team of family law barristers will today overturn centuries of legal tradition by being first to offer the public a fixed fee divorce service designed to keep their clients out of court. The team of barristers from Middlesbrough are dispensing with the wig and gown to help warring couples reach out of court settlements over child arrangements and family finances. The decision to encroach on the traditional turf of high street solicitors is the unintended consequence of the government’s swingeing cuts to the family justice system. Following the withdrawal of legal aid for most family law matters, solicitors are instructing fewer and fewer barristers to represent publicly funded clients at court. As well as being responsible for the ballooning number of parents now representing themselves at court, it is threatening barristers with financial ruin. read

  • How not to let project disputes escalate

    This article includes a good list of communication suggestions for avoiding the development and exacerbation of international commercial disputes. read

  • California Judicial Branch Recommends Divorce Mediation, Not Divorce Court

    In their information about the process of divorce, the California Courts recommend that all couples consider mediation. “It is unsurprising that the California Judicial Branch officially recommends divorce mediation,” said Gerald Maggio, a California divorce attorney and mediator. “Right now, California family court judges are dealing with an enormous backlog of cases. And many are divorce cases that wind up up simply as a division of debts because the couple has spent all of their assets on divorce attorneys.” In their discussion of mediation, the California Courts place the most emphasis on the benefits that mediation passes on to children. read

  • Microsoft, Getty copyright dispute heads for mediation

    A judge in New York has postponed for mediation proceedings a decision on an injunction motion by Getty Images against a Bing widget, which allowed publishers to embed image collages and slideshows from search results on their websites. read

  • Democrats' lawsuits against John Kasich, Josh Mandel sent to mediation by Ohio Supreme Court

    Two lawsuits that the Ohio Democratic Party filed with the Ohio Supreme Court over access to public records from Gov. John Kasich and state Treasurer Josh Mandel were referred to mediation Tuesday. The decision means a mediator for the Supreme Court will attempt to resolve the disputes between the parties, rather than have the case go through arguments before the court. If it becomes clear that the dispute cannot be resolved, the case can be moved back into the docket for the court's consideration, a court spokesman said. read

  • Law enforcement finds arbitration imperfect

    The state’s grievance arbitration system was designed to protect public employees from discipline without just cause and violations of their employment contracts. Yet some arbitrator decisions reinstating police officers terminated for criminal activity or alleged criminal activity have called into question whether the arbitration system serves the interest of public trust in law enforcement. Some law enforcement leaders say they can’t depend on arbitrators to uphold discipline of peace officers who violate the law. read

  • Muir Woods Mural Mediation To Start Monday

    The future of the Muir Woods mural that adorns the Lincoln Blvd. and Ocean Park corner of Olympic High School in Santa Monica is uncertain, with parties for and against the current design, heading to mediation. The mural was created in 1978 in honor of conservationist John Muir, the original namesake of Olympic High, which was previously known as John Muir Elementary. In recent times the wall has fallen into disrepair, with all agreeing that a facelift of sorts is in order. read

  • Has mediation turned the corner?

    On Friday last week National Family Mediation (‘NFM’), the largest provider of family mediation in England and Wales, reported a significant rise in the take-up of its services in the first six months of 2014. Mediation is, of course, the government’s big answer to its abolition of legal aid for most private law family matters in April 2013. Instead of going to court, couples should resolve their disputes through mediation, or at least that is the idea. read

  • Child abuse case going to mediation

    A man accused of sexually abusing a girl for seven years may see his case end in mediation. Donald Lenz, 56, was scheduled to be tried Oct. 6 with first-and second-degree sodomy and first- and second-degree sexual abuse. Thursday, Circuit Court Judge William Clouse allowed all parties to meet in a mediation session, which will be before a retired judge. If an agreement is reached, it will be presented to the trial judge for approval. read

  • McIlroy, former management company ordered into mediation

    A High Court judge today ordered the world’s number one golfer Rory McIlroy and his former management company, Horizon Sports Management, to engage in peace talks over the next four weeks. McIlroy’s legal battle with Horizon also involves the affairs of his Ryder Cup team mate Graeme McDowell and Mr Justice Brian McGovern said it involved such sensitive matters that the sides should engage in mediation. read

  • Divorce, Sanford Style: Social Media and Mediation

    The Mark Sanford divorce saga has gone back behind closed doors: After a surge of attention to the South Carolina congressman’s rambling Facebook post on Friday about his private life, a family-court judge said today that Mr. Sanford and his ex-wife, Jenny, have agreed to mediation on parenting issues and other concerns. read

  • What Is The EEOC's Mediation Program? Does "Everyone Benefit?"

    We asked: What IS a National Universal Agreement to Mediate? And why might it be a good thing to know about? In this Part I we describe the mediation program. In Part II, we will ask whether it is a "win-win" program, as the EEOC says – given the less than favorable reviews of some who practice before the EEOC who claim that the EEOC attempts to "bully" employers. read

  • Jerry Springer takes to wrestling ring to mediate between the feuding Bella Twins. It doesn’t end well

    When Jerry Springer decided to take his powers of mediation to the wrestling ring, he probably never imagined he would be carted out of the arena on a stretcher. Unfortunately for him, that’s just what happened when he attempted to solve an ongoing feud between WWE siblings the Bella Twins on US wrestling show WWE Raw. read

  • Moving Towards Peace Through Ethnic And Religious Conflict Resolution

    In the 21st century, living in peaceful Western countries, most of us believe we are civilized enough that there should easily be peace everywhere, but we continue to see waves of ethnic and religious violence around the world. The unrest and violence is a threat to peace, to political stability, to economic growth and to security around the world. We are all too aware that recent conflicts have killed and maimed tens of thousands and displaced millions. Continued violence only sets the stage for more violence.  Governments do not have all the answers. People and organizations can have influence over our path to the future. One organization taking action now is the International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). ICERM is preparing for their upcoming 2014 Annual International Conference On Ethnic And Religious Conflict Resolution And Peacebuilding. The one-day event, on October 1, 2014 in Manhattan, New York, aims to inspire new thinking, stimulate ideas, and start dialogue towards facilitating peace and advancing social and economic well-being. read

  • Singapore Tribunal to be 'last recourse' for community disputes

    Come next year, feuding neighbours will be able to turn to a tribunal dedicated to resolving community disputes. The Community Resolution Dispute Tribunal, first announced in March, will be established under the auspices of the State Courts and have powers to mandate mediation. Those who apply to have disputes heard by the tribunal must first attempt to mediate. If the other party does not reciprocate, the tribunal can order both parties to attend pre-hearing mediation and record any agreement as a consent order which can be enforced accordingly. Court processes for the tribunal will be streamlined so that “long-running disputes can be resolved expeditiously and effectively,” said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong in Parliament today (Sept 9). However, Mr Wong stressed that the tribunal should “be an avenue of last resort to adjudicate long-standing, intractable disputes between neighbours”. read

  • Milwaukee Archdiocese, abuse victims set for latest round of mediation

    For the second time in two years, lawyers for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and sex abuse victims are sitting down with a mediator, starting Monday, in hopes of hammering out a settlement in the archdiocese's nearly 4-year-old bankruptcy. None of the parties associated with the case have estimated what it would take to resolve the underlying issues, including a pending lawsuit over $60 million in trust set aside for maintenance of the archdiocese's cemeteries. But two things appear certain: Abuse survivors will undoubtedly push for more than the $3 million-plus they were offered as part of the reorganization plan proposed by the archdiocese in February. And the archdiocese appears reluctant to budge, at least at the outset. read

  • Gazprom Seeks Mediation of Moncrief's $1.36 Billion Suit

    Russia’s biggest company Gazpron asked a U.S. judge to force Moncrief Oil International Inc. to arbitrate a $1.36 billion trade-secrets lawsuit and dismiss the case.  Moncrief’s claims are linked to negotiations with Gazprom over a stake in a Russian oil field and are subject to an arbitration clause of the companies’ 1998 contract.  A previous lawsuit filed by Moncrief in 2006 alleging breach of contract was dismissed after Gazprom argued the dispute required mediation. While the new case accuses Gazprom of stealing Moncrief’s secret market research -- revealed during the negotiations -- the claim still relates to the contract and still requires mediation, Gazprom argues.  “For nearly a decade, Moncrief Oil International Inc. has tried to do the impossible -- prevail on claims against OAO Gazprom and various subsidiaries based on an alleged cooperation agreement while simultaneously avoiding that agreement’s binding arbitration clause,” Gazprom said in the filing. read

  • Inside counsel should consider revisiting arbitration clauses

    In light of recent landmark rulings, inside counsel should keep a close pulse on the emerging consumer-friendly trends of the state courts and consider revisiting the standard arbitration clauses, which for years have been used as contractual protective shields for Corporate America. read

  • What Your Financial Advisor’s Mandatory Arbitration Clause Means for You

    There’s nothing arbitrary about mandatory arbitration clauses, but you can be purposeful in how you scrutinize them. The fine print you read before you sign can save you headaches and expenses down the road. Such clauses are in the fine print of virtually every contract you read from securities brokers. They’re also nonnegotiable. You might be able to change other parts of the contract, but if you try to strike out the arbitration clause to preserve your right to bring a complaint through the court system, the advisor will likely tear up the contract.  read

  • Conflict resolvers' ensure peace at gay rugby world cup

    The referees overseeing the Bingham Cup last week were re-named “Conflict Resolvers,” in a legal twist that had Folklaw prick up its ears. Chad Burnell assistant director – legal at the Australian Sports Commission was a referee at the Bingham Cup. He told Folklaw that the spin on the referee title came from the t-shirt sponsor, mediation firm Negocio Resolutions. “When [the referees] saw it we all had a chuckle but that name actually stuck throughout the tournament. It got a laugh from the players as well,” he said. “I guess it was a light-hearted touch to poke fun at us in terms of what we actually do because, at the end of the day, rugby is a game of conflict and we try to resolve it the best we can.” The Bingham Cup is an international LGBIT tournament that runs every two years. This year around 1,000 players from 15 countries came to Sydney to participate. read

  • Ireland: Progress in gender equality, diversity and anti-bullying for Defence Forces

    Good progress has been made by the defence forces in introducing policies which respect gender equality, diversity and anti-bullying strategies, according to a key report to be launched this morning.
    The Independent Monitoring Group, which reviewed training, education and personnel management in the Defence Forces said the military now recognised recruits rights to equality regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation including transgender, religion, membership of the Traveller community, status as a single or attached person, or family status. Two areas of civil equality legislation, relating to age and disability remain inapplicable to the Defence Forces.The report noted the military had, since the last Independent Monitoring Group report in 2008, introduced a mediation as an informal option in dealing with complaints from recruits. read

  • Future of 4 Valleys Remains Uncertain

    The question of whether the 4 Valleys will or will not be operational for the coming ski season remains uncertain. The operators on two sides of the giant ski area, one of the world’s five largest, have so far failed to reach agreement on a way forward, with the key to their disagreement being revenue share, and mediation has so far not worked. “The agreement that ensured a smooth connection for skiers between the various ski areas of the 4Vallées (Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon) was terminated by Téléveysonnaz as per 30 June 2014." read

  • Judge orders mediation in effort to settle wrongful death suit involving Williamsport cop

    A federal judge has referred to mediation the civil rights suit stemming from the death of a motorist in a collision with a Williamsport police cruiser. U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III Friday directed a conference with mediator take place within 60 days in attempt to settle the suit brought the estate of James David Robinson. The city of Williamsport that is a defendant along with Officer Jonathan DePrenda had asked Jones to schedule a conference to determine the viability of settling the case before engaging in lengthy discovery. read

  • Resorts mum on mediation

    Representatives from the two sides in the lawsuit between Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC have been tightlipped about whether they have come to an agreement to keep PCMR open this coming ski season. The latest extension of a court-imposed deadline to mediate a settlement passed Sunday without any new information being released to the public.  read

  • Cleveland attorney predicts mediation use in court cases will continue to grow

    Longtime Cleveland business owner Richard Burroughs has spent his career representing clients in all types of civil and criminal litigation. Burroughs visited the members of the Cleveland Lions Club on Tuesday, Sept. 1, where he discussed the various types of litigation in which he has been involved, as well as provided some facts about mediation. Burroughs, who was a member of the Lions Club organization over 40 years ago, along with his wife, Nancy, have run a successful mediation center, known as Lone Star Dispute Resolution, for many years. read

  • Mediation: An alternative to 'I'll see you in court'

    Disputes are obviously not uncommon in the business world. No matter whether the sides are arguing over a few hundred dollars or few million, immediately filing a lawsuit may not always be the best solution. Attempting to mediate the matter first is often a more effective alternative. Mediation is a voluntary procedure where the parties to any legal dispute willingly agree to meet with a neutral third party (the mediator) in a respectful and stress-free environment. read

August 2014

  • Air rage over knee defender causes US flight to divert.  Need for Reclining Mediation?

    A US airliner has been diverted after a row broke out over one passenger's use of a device to prevent the seat in front of him from reclining. The argument forced the United Airlines flight from Newark to Denver to make an unscheduled stop in Chicago. The passengers involved were reported to be sitting in the Economy Plus section of the plane, which already provides an extra four inches (10cm) of leg room. The fight began when the male passenger, seated in a middle seat of row 12, used the Knee Defender to stop the woman in front of him from reclining while he used his laptop. A flight attendant asked him to remove the device - a small piece of plastic costing $21.95 (£13.25) which slots onto the tray table - but he refused. The woman reacted by standing up, turning around and throwing a cup of water at him. read

  • Divorcing? What are the benefits of mediation versus litigation

    Court battles can go on for months or even years, and can get very ‘ugly’. All sense of civility is usually lost, and lawyers battle it out, airing the couple’s dirty laundry to be judged in court. In some cases, the litigation route is the only option – and you may need to hire a lawyer to make sure your interests are protected. However, if at all possible, you should try to go the route of mediation. This is where both parties come to a mutual agreement through a trained negotiator experienced in divorce law. It is often much quicker and far less emotionally damaging than litigation. read

  • Report: 3.7 Million Use Legal Self-Help Centers

    Despite the glut of newly-minted lawyers, millions of Americans end up representing themselves in court because they can’t afford to pay $150 to $300 an hour for an attorney. Many turn to court-based legal self-help centers intended to help pro-se litigants navigate the judicial system. Nearly 500 centers now operate since the first was launched in the 1990s, according to a new report out from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, which concluded they “are a vibrant and effective resource” for court users nationwide. read

  • Israel, Palestinians reach Gaza cease-fire deal: Hamas spokesman

    Palestinian officials said on Tuesday a Gaza ceasefire deal with Israel has been reached under Egyptian mediation and a formal announcement of an agreement was imminent. There was no immediate confirmation from Israel, where a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment. read

  • Parents ask government to agree to mediation with more than 11,000 signatures

    Dozens of parents have delivered a petition with more than 11,000 signatures to the BC legislature. Mother Jordan Waters says the group wants the government to join the teachers’ union in mediation. “I am disillusioned with our government and their unwillingness to make public education a priority. I think it’s really short-sighted and they don’t see how investing in children is investing in our economic prosperity in the long run.” read

  • UK: Mediation Matters: Unlocking an understanding of mediation

    Who says August is a quiet month? It’s not traditionally noted for major Government statements, but this month saw one of the most significant announcements affecting family law and mediation for some time. Justice Minister Simon Hughes pledged funding for a single free mediation session for both parties where just one of them qualifies for legal aid. read

  • Judicial race pits defense attorney against mediator

    One of the judicial races that will be decided in Tuesday's primary election pits a criminal defense attorney with hundreds of hours of experience in front of the bench and an attorney who runs a mediation business and teaches introductory law courses. Robin Lemonidis and Brooke Deratany Goldfarb are in the running for Brevard-Seminole Circuit Judge Group 14. Whoever takes the most votes in Tuesday's primary wins the seat and will take over the criminal cases previously handled by Judge John Griesbaum, who is retiring. Both women are well known in the community, and the intense competition between them has been drawing increasing attention as the decision date nears.  read

  • Preparing for mediation

    There are two key questions that parties preparing for mediation should ask themselves throughout their preparation for the mediation: First, how to remove obstacles to settlement: parties should do all they can to avoid the negotiation at the mediation being delayed, or failing, because there is an issue that could have been identified and addressed in advance that was not.  Second, what will the other side need to help them take a decision to resolve the dispute? It is easy in the flurry of activity before a mediation for each party to focus only on their own case and preparation, but a resolution will only be achieved with the agreement of the counterparty, so keep in mind your opponent at all times (even if you disagree as to the approach they appear to be taking). read

  • Kidnapped American journalist freed in Syria after Qatari mediation

    An American journalist kidnapped by the Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group, the Al-Nusra Front, has been freed following mediation between the organization and the Qatari government. Peter Theo Curtis was turned over to UN peacekeepers in Quneitra in the Golan Heights on Sunday after being seized by militants while traveling into Syria to report on the conflict there in October 2012. The Qatari government announced late on Sunday that it had secured Curtis’s release, issuing a statement saying it had “exerted relentless efforts to release the American journalist out of Qatar’s belief in the principles of humanity and out of concern for the lives of individuals and their right to freedom and dignity.” read

  • What Works Best to Help Stop Bullying in Schools?

    Bullying in schools has been recognised as a serious and pervasive problem now for at least two decades. There is now also evidence, including from the UK and other European countries, North America and Australia, that traditional forms of bullying in schools have decreased modestly over the last decade or so. This is very likely due to the increase in work to prevent bullying. Yet much still persists. In 2010, the EU Kids Online project found 19% of children were victims of bullying and 12% bullied others. A recent follow-up study in 2014 suggested an increase in cyberbullying, though not in traditional bullying. Figures elsewhere are not dissimilar, although prevalence rates vary greatly in terms of how it is measured and how bullying is defined. read

  • The Jews Of Iran, Quietly Defying All That's Wrong In The Middle East

    Surprisingly, there are about 30,000 Jews in Iran — the largest community in the Middle East after Israel — and half of them live in Tehran. "Every community has its own problems," one says, "But we live well here. There are more than 50 synagogues in the city, and a Jewish ghetto never existed here like it did in Europe. We are free to follow our religion as we please. read

  • Protecting Self-Determination in Mediation

    At one point in a mediation, the parties appear to be stuck. The mediator offers a suggestion on how to resolve the dispute. Shortly thereafter, the parties sign an agreement based on that suggestion. Has the mediator violated the ethical standards relating to self-determination? For many of you, this brief description captures a typical mediation, so the thought that this could be a violation of an ethical standard may seem preposterous. We believe that closer examination is required. read

  • Muslim Scholars Suspend Mediation in Case of Abducted Soldiers

    The Association of Muslim Scholars announced on Friday after a meeting with PM Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail that they will no longer mediate in the issue of releasing abducted soldiers. The Muslim Scholars comittee stated that its mediation would stop in order to allow room for other parties to settle the abductees' file. Around 20 Lebanese soldiers and policemen were kidnapped by terrorist groups, including mainly ISIL and Nusra, during the recent clashes with the army in Arsal before they withdrew and moved the hostages to the barrens of the town at the International borders with Syria. Media reports mentioned Friday that the negotiations with terrorist kidnappers has deteriorated as they demanded the Lebanese government to release extremist prisoners in return of freeing the hostages. read

  • How mediation of patent disputes differs from litigation

    Patent litigation can be extremely expensive and time consuming. A patent infringement case of even moderate complexity can cost millions of dollars. A protracted litigation can also damage a company’s business development strategies while important intellectual property rights are expiring. The outcome of patent litigation is also always uncertain. For these and other reasons, it is often desirable to seek an alternative to the litigation process. Mediation is a well-accepted means of dispute resolution. The mediation process involves the parties to a dispute engaging an impartial mediator to facilitate a negotiation process.  read

  • Pre-nuptial Agreements Increasing In the UK

    The demand for prenuptial practicalities is on the rise, with one London company reporting a 50% rise in people inquiring about pre-nups. This upsurge could have been partly prompted by the Law Commission’s suggestion that a pre-marriage agreement should form part of the marriage reform, and that pre-nups should be given the kind of legal weight which they’re afforded in Scotland. read

  • 6 Questions to Ask About Your Company's Mediation Process

    The use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by U.S. companies—now encompassing all industries and every type of commercial dispute—has evolved in scope and application over the past 30 years. Notably, as corporate counsel have sought to gain greater control over associated costs, scheduling, duration, relationships, confidentiality and settlement outcomes, mediation has become an integral early step in the corporate dispute resolution process, intended to resolve cases in advance of litigation without significant legal risk, expense or publicity. read

  • Couples should try out mediation

    Today, I'd like to focus on a settlement approach that is currently receiving a lot of attention across the United States -- mediation. Mediation is a process in which a trained mediator tries to help opposing parties reach an agreement they can both live with. In Guam, the "father" of mediation is attorney Pat Wolff. When I think about Pat, I reflect back on the old saying: "One person can make a difference." read

  • DIY divorce: Britons pay 30% less to split

    The cost of legal advice for divorcing couples has fallen 30% since 2006, according to research by one of Britain's biggest insurers. The rise of cheap DIY services, while limited, may have helped force down prices, the insurer suggested. However, legal experts said the removal of legal aid is likely to have contributed to the decline in the average cost, which has fallen from £1,818 to £1,280. Online do-it-yourself services advertise a “quickie” divorce for as little as £37. But couples must agree on how any assets will be split and how child care and other arrangements will be managed. While almost a third of couples said they tried to reach an amicable settlement to save on legal fees, the proportion that used on online service, while growing, is still very low at 4%. read

  • Column: Parent who spanks has empty parenting tool box

    . . . My ex-husband and I share custody of our 4-year-old son. Part of the reason we divorced was because of the different ways we view raising a child. My ex-husband is much more strict and firm with our son. Despite a contentious divorce a year ago, we are usually able to agree upon the day-to-day aspects of our son’s life. My concern is that my son has come back to me saying that his father has spanked him hard. read

  • White House Order May Reignite Employment Arbitration Debate

    A White House executive order restricting mandatory arbitration clauses for employees of large federal government contractors is ripe for a challenge, according to some attorneys.  Labor and employment lawyers said they expect the order's direct impact will be limited, but its effect on the public discourse regarding arbitration of employment disputes could be significant. President Barack Obama's order may conflict with the Federal Arbitration Act, some attorneys said, and a legal challenge is possible. Plaintiffs attorneys may cite the order as ammunition to attempt to discredit arbitration clauses by other employers. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, signed July 31, says companies with federal contracts of $1 million or more may not require employees to enter into pre-dispute arbitration agreements for disputes arising out of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or from torts related to sexual assault or harassment. read

  • Global cotton body to speed up dispute settlement process

    The International Cotton Association Limited is in the process of working out a new non-binding mediation process to expedite the disputes and ensure sanctity of contracts, its President Mohit D Shah said here on Tuesday. “There is a possibility to introduce a non-binding mediation, whereby buyers and sellers will be able to sit and discuss to resolve the issue. Some sort of announcement can be expected soon,” he said, on the sidelines of a cotton conference organised by the Indian Cotton Federation in Coimbatore. ICAL’s annual conference is slated at Dubai in the first week of October, and Shah is hopeful of making some announcement on the new mediation process during or just ahead of the conference. read

  • Vermont Gas upbeat on pipeline mediation

    Stymied by stalled negotiations over pipeline rights-of-way in Addison County, Vermont Gas on Tuesday announced it will offer reluctant landowners the opportunity to negotiate through a neutral third party.  About 70 percent of the natural gas pipeline's path to Middlebury has the approval of property owners, company spokesman Steve Wark said at a news conference at his South Burlington offices.  Access to about 20 percent of the remaining properties is in "very productive discussions," Wark added; the remaining 10 percent (about 20 people) have resisted any agreement. This latter group — even those whose property might soon be petitioned for an eminent domain (forced) sale — will be able to participate in the quicker and generally cheaper avenue of mediation, at Vermont Gas' expense, Wark said. read

  • Pembroke Pines Mediator Suspended Over Conflicts

    A Pembroke Pines mediator has been suspended for six months by the Florida Mediator Qualifications Board for not disclosing a conflict of interest in more than 100 mediations. Ronald Weeks also was punished for misrepresenting his qualifications, the board said in a disciplinary report. Weeks was hired by his sister-in-law, Karen Watson, the mediation coordinator at the Fort Lauderdale office of Phelan Hallinan, a Philadelphia-based law firm representing mortgage banks. Weeks was paid more than $30,000 over a one-month period for his services. Weeks violated state rules for certified and court-appointed mediators by mediating cases where he had a conflict of interest and failing to disclose that to participants, the board report states. Weeks admitted the charges. read

  • Making the Case for Arbitration

    Is litigation “better” than arbitration? What does “better” mean, and who decides? The debate over arbitration vs. litigation has been going on for years, and will likely continue . . . with no clear winner. Aaron Foldenauer essentially invited this discussion in his July 29 article on, “Big Risks and Disadvantages of Arbitration vs. Litigation.” While my article responds to some of the criticisms of arbitration in that one, I hope that it is a thoughtful counterpoint. I speak from the standpoint of one who, for over 40 years, has counseled businesses and their owners, tried their cases in both court (jury and nonjury) and arbitration, and served as neutral arbitrator, either as sole arbitrator or as a member of chair of a multiarbitrator panel, in hundreds of commercial cases. read

  • Is Mediating Prenups a Form of Marital Mediation?

    My mediation practice during the past several years has taken a turn towards mediating prenuptial agreements. Here's how it happened. read

  • Robin Williams on Conflict  read

  • Selecting your mediator and drafting the mediation agreement

    Given the critical role played by the mediator in the mediation process, the selection of the mediator is a topic that attracts significant attention. While in some cases the parties (or their advisors) will have a specific mediator in mind or be content to engage a mediator proposed by one of the commercial ADR providers, the exercise of identifying suitable candidates is often more complex. This guide seeks to identify some of the key factors to consider in the selection process. read

  • Ireland: Divorcing couples face mandatory counselling to stave off court action

    Couples who want to end their marriage could be forced to take part in mandatory counselling and mediation as part of proposals for a radical overhaul of the family law system being considered by the Government.  The reforms, the most ambitious ever proposed for Ireland’s divorce and separation system, were the brainchild of former Justice Minister Alan Shatter but are now being considered by his successor, Frances Fitzgerald.  At present, separating couples who wish to part without going to court can seek to resolve their issues through the Family Mediation Service (FMS).  The free, confidential service is for married and non-married couples who try to sort out matters such as parenting, financial support and issues relating to the family home and other property.  However, many couples experience huge delays in accessing mediation which, since 2011, has been transferred to the Legal Aid Board.  Delays accessing mediation and free legal advice exacerbates the conflict between many couples enduring separation and divorce. Under the proposals now being considered by Ms Fitzgerald, couples could be forced to engage in mandatory counselling before seeking the intervention of the courts. read

  • Opt for a common-sense divorce

    Trying to get a divorce? Wondering why it’s taking so long and costing so much? Family courts are backlogged because we’ve been conditioned to believe the divorce process has to be both litigious and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be either of those things. If we applied some common sense — putting the beginning of our next chapter ahead of the retaliation we feel for ending the last chapter — it could be a much smoother process. The Ontario government knows that marriage dissolution is a right mess. It’s looking for ways to encourage people to talk it out rationally in order to keep families out of court. That’ll keep more money in people’s pockets too. read

  • Local camp focuses on conflict resolution

    Five Palestinians, five Israelis and five Americans join together in a local camp designed to increase empathy and awareness in the youth. Jack Karn, one of the counselors and camp coordinators, who specializes in leadership training, said there was some tension added to the camp this year. Phones are taken away from campers to control their access to information. "We give them the news at one time during the day," he said. "So they hear the events and the news is collected, trying to get an objective view based on what is going on on the ground." The Leadership Camp, held for 10 days on Acer Farm in West Brattleboro, is a collaboration between Jerusalem PeaceBuilders and Kids4Peace. read

  • Obama strikes a blow against the scourge of forced arbitration

    Little noticed in coverage of President Obama's signing of the Fair Play and Safe Workplaces executive order July 31 was a provision that has been called "one of the most important positive steps for civil rights in the last 20 years."  The statement comes from Paul Bland of the public interest group Public Justice, quoted by Emily Bazelon of Slate. He's right; what he's referring to is a provision of the order that bars employers from forcing workers to bring workplace discrimination, sexual assault or sexual harassment cases only through arbitration. As Bazelon reports, the order applies to firms with federal contracts valued at more than $1 million. But that's plenty. read

  • Taking a Broker to Arbitration

    If you have a problem with your investment broker and you cannot resolve the dispute on your own, you probably won’t get your day in court. But you will be heard, most likely in a conference room somewhere, before a panel of arbitrators. The moment people open a brokerage or investment account, they most likely — and perhaps inadvertently — waive their right to sue. The fine print of most customer agreements almost always contains a clause that says the customer agree to resolve any future disputes through arbitration, largely through the forum operated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization, known as Finra. read

  • IL: Mandatory mediation on tap for foreclosure process

    “What we have here is failure to communicate,” the warden says to a prisoner played by Paul Newman in a scene of the movie “Cool Hand Luke.” In courtroom hearings on foreclosures, Judge Mike Jones often sees exactly that — a failure to communicate — between the homeowner and the bank, he said.  As the primary judge in Champaign County who oversees foreclosure cases, over and over again Jones has watched frustrated homeowners appear before him and say they could not get the same person from the bank on the phone twice, or they gathered up all the documents they were told to get and sent them to the bank, only to be told they were lost or the file was incomplete. Also not uncommon is the lawyer appearing for the bank does not know the status of the foreclosure, nor does he or she have the authority to settle the case, Jones said. Come Oct. 1, Champaign County will join a growing number of counties in Illinois where people facing residential foreclosure will now undergo mandatory mediation. read

  • From The Jerusalem Post: Future US mediation should involve greater regional diplomatic role

    For the sake of reaching a cease-fire in Gaza, and for long-term efforts toward a two-state solution, the US must encourage more regional diplomatic participation. US attempts for a cease-fire in Gaza have been a disaster. Despite working endlessly to incorporate the efforts of regional and European actors, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s hopes of bringing an end to the weeks-long escalation between Israel and Hamas have mercilessly been dashed. Although it has fallen short, the US has chosen the right course. A strategy of encouraging greater participation from these self-appointed Middle Eastern mediators and others represents the surest way the US can expect to broker a cease-fire. read

  • Massachusetts Early Mediation Program Changing the Tax Appeals Landscape

    The Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s new Early Mediation Program (EMP) is off to a very promising start. The EMP expedites the normal appeals process and offers hope to taxpayers that desire to resolve tax disputes without prolonged litigation. The Department indicated at a recent Boston Bar Association meeting that eight of the first 11 cases have resulted in settlements. Commissioner Amy Pittner announced publicly earlier this year that the Department’s goal is that one-third of all eligible disputes will be mediated. read

  • Home Share Now wins award for mediation

    The American College of Civil Trial Mediators, a professional association, recently gave a cash award to Home Share Now for its efforts in home sharing mediation. The award came in support of applying dispute resolution in the alternative setting of facilitated home sharing. Home Share Now has facilitated the sharing of housing, such as by multigenerational housemates, since 2003. The organization said it views conflict resolution as the most important skill necessary for successful home sharing. read

  • Bangalore: Mediation a big success

    Mediation is catching on in the city with more than 60 per cent of all cases referred to the Bangalore Mediation Centre being resolved out of court. The centre, just off KH (Double) Road, handles about a 100 cases every day, according to mediators who volunteer at the centre. As a free alternative to litigation, mediation centres bring relief to an already burdened legislative system. The rules for mediation were framed by the High Court of Karnataka in 2006 and the centre was set up in 2007. Prashanth Chandra, a mediator for seven years and an advocate read

  • Mediation of Insurance Coverage Cases

    Resolving insurance coverage disputes through mediation requires careful assessment of three unique elements: the insurance policy, the rules applicable to the application of the policy and the cases construing the policy. Evaluative mediation provides the best approach for resolving these disputes. It requires parties, counsel and the mediator to evaluate the strength and weaknesses of coverage issues, and it provides for input from the mediator as to possible outcomes of the case. There are also other issues unique to insurance coverage cases that must be addressed in the mediation process. read

  • 10 Tips for a Successful Mediation

    If your company is headed to a mediation, you’re in good company. A recent study of more than 350 Fortune 1000 companies showed that nearly all of them have used mediation in the last three years to resolve a dispute. Compared to other dispute resolution mechanisms, mediation can be attractive for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that you are the master of your own fate and you have the opportunity to resolve matters early on—privately and without the extended costs and risks of litigation.  But successful mediations do not simply happen. Here are 10 tips you can use to increase the likelihood that your mediation is a success. read

  • Gunmen wound Lebanese religious mediators

    Gunmen attacked a delegation of clerics sent to mediate between the Lebanese army and Islamic extremists from neighboring Syria that took over a Lebanese town, wounding a prominent Sunni sheik who then left on Tuesday to be treated at a hospital. Sheik Salem al-Rafei of the Association of Muslim Scholars suffered wounds in the leg during the attack late Monday. The association declined to comment on the results of the mediation but in an apparent gesture of goodwill, militants released three policemen they had been holding captive. read

  • DirecTV CEO says he's open to mediation to resolve Dodgers TV dispute

    Satellite broadcaster DirecTV said it would be open to some sort of mediation to resolve its dispute with Time Warner Cable over carriage of SportsNet LA, the new local TV home for the Dodgers. Speaking to analysts and investors during its second-quarter earnings conference call, DirecTV Chief Executive Mike White said he is "frustrated" with the negotiations with Time Warner Cable, which has distribution rights for the Dodgers-owned channel.  While White's remarks may be seen as cause for optimism for Dodgers fans, he also suggested that the team should be part of any talks. "Without active participation of the Dodgers I'm not sure how you get any resolution to this dispute," White said. read

  • Mediation Perspectives: The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims in Dialogue With the World

    Conflicts with a religious dimension are increasingly commanding global attention and have become a focal point for those working in the field of dialogue and mediation. While the role of religion in conflict is salient, focusing excessively on this relationship runs the risk of losing track of the unifying capacity of religious institutions and the work that is being done by their members to transcend cultural, religious and political boundaries. Against the backdrop of intensifying unrest between Sunni and Shia Islamic communities in many different regions of the world, it is pertinent to remind ourselves of the many initiatives from within these communities to bridge differences. What can we learn from the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim community regarding the promotion of peaceful co-existence worldwide? read

  • The psychology of mediation

    studies show that an individual’s satisfaction with a court proceeding, arbitration or mediation depend on whether that person perceives the process as “fair.” Parties are more willing to enter into a settlement, and to comply with its terms, if they credit the process as a fair one. Reaching a negotiated result, and then abiding by the agreed-to terms, therefore, may hinge on the parties’ belief that the mediation has been fairly conducted. When evaluating “fairness,” most people ask themselves whether they had a voice in the process. Surprisingly, the actual result is of secondary importance. What people want is the ability to have substantive input into the ultimate decision. read

  • Metropolitan Opera Considers Mediation

    The Metropolitan Opera has proposed bringing in a mediator to facilitate talks with its unions, a move that could delay a lockout that management had threatened for Friday. Opera officials broached the idea in a negotiation session Wednesday with the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents singers, dancers and stage managers. Union head Alan Gordon said his group would agree to mediation if the unions representing the orchestra and stagehands were on board. read

  • Spectrum doctor's Facebook lawsuit: Mediator chosen; hospital responds

    A mediator has been chosen for a lawsuit filed against Spectrum Health by an emergency room physician whose position was terminated after she made a comment on Facebook, according to a statement filed in U.S. District Court. Dr. Catherine Puetz filed the lawsuit March 14, saying she was abruptly let go and wrongfully accused of a HIPAA violation after she and other employees made comments online about a photo posted on Facebook. She accuses Spectrum of “defamation, false light invasion of privacy, breach of contract/covenant and tortious interference with business expectancy.” Also named in the suit are Kevin Splaine, the president of Spectrum Health Hospitals, and Jeanne Roode, director of emergency, trauma and neuroscience services. read

  • Why mediation is a model for problem solving

    About eleven years ago, I was experiencing a life transition and thought it would be a great time to connect with the local community dispute resolution program. The exploration brought me to The Dispute Resolution Center in Ann Arbor, where a community of mediators worked together to provide an alternative approach to problem solving instead of going to court. What I found was a rich and engaged community of mediators committed to helping people problem solve and committed to making the DRC a vibrant, viable, and reliable choice for dispute resolution. read

  • Judge orders sexual abuse victims, Milwaukee archdiocese to mediation in bankruptcy case

    A federal judge said Wednesday that she would send the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's bankruptcy case to mediation. Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley said she considers mediation the best bet for resolving the hard-fought, three-year-long case. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011, saying it would not have the money to pay if it lost lawsuits filed on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse. More than 500 abuse victims have since filed claims in bankruptcy court. The mediation will involve attorneys for the archdiocese, sexual abuse victims and others owed money by the archdiocese. A previous attempt at mediation in 2012 failed. Kelley agreed to mediation before hearing arguments over whether the archdiocese should pay attorneys' legal fees now or later. read

  • “To See Ourselves as Others See Us”: The surprising potential of Online Dispute Resolution

    Many of us have been hearing about Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for years but haven’t quite got round to using it. It sounds like a nice idea when face-to-face mediation isn’t an option through distance and/or cost. And yet I suspect that for most mediators the ‘gold standard’ is being in the same room as our clients. We can see people, hear them, feel the emotional temperature; we can also speak, use our eyes, use our hands; even jump to our feet when things get stuck. A small screen, by contrast, seems flat, miniature and limited. However, if precedent is anything to go by, it would be foolish to bet against the forward march of technology. read

  • Judge Orders Mediation for SpaceX, US Air Force

    A federal judge has asked the U.S. Air Force and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to try mediation to resolve a lawsuit over the service’s $11 billion order of rockets from SpaceX-rival United Launch Alliance. SpaceX filed the lawsuit April 28, asking the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to void a large portion of the deal, under which the Air Force ordered 36 rocket cores from ULA on a sole-source basis. The U.S. Department of Justice, representing the Air Force, has asked the court to dismiss the case. But Judge Susan Braden on July 24 directed the two sides to explore a third alternative: mediation. Braden asked SpaceX to provide, by Sept. 10, a list of proposed issues for mediation, potential mediators and a timetable. The Air Force will then have until Oct. 14 to determine whether SpaceX’s proposed terms for mediation are acceptable. read

  • Five mediation secrets can change life

    I’ve been a lawyer for almost 30 years and a mediator since 1990. I’ve learned how to help resolve people’s problems, getting them not only what they say they want, but what they really want and aren’t telling me. I have five secrets that have changed my life and those of the people I work and play with. I’ll let you in on these secrets. Use them wisely. They are powerful tools. read

July 2014

  • Big Risks and Disadvantages of Arbitration vs. Litigation

    Three recent high-profile arbitral awards highlight the risks of arbitration and demonstrate that, contrary to widespread belief, arbitration is often not cheaper, faster or more predictable than litigation. These three awards, as well as emerging trends in arbitral proceedings, call into question the common practice among corporations of including contractual provisions mandating arbitration in the event of any disputes. read

  • UK It's time to get serious about arbitration

    It’s time to face the facts. The UK coalition government’s obsession with mediation has failed. It is now time to get serious about an alternative which has been overlooked for too long: arbitration. The family courts are overcrowded. A huge number of people seeking a divorce, or the right to see their children have put a significant strain on the system. The government’s solution? Get more people to choose mediation. In an attempt to prove its effectiveness, the government’s action on the issue has proved the opposite: mediation is not the answer. read

  • Privatization of justice & "Sharia courts" 

    The apex court in its landmark decision on 7th July, 2014 held that sharia courts are not courts as Indian legal does not recognize a parallel judicial system. But then is it not a fact that privatization of justice is fact of life not only in India but in most developed countries? Does our law not recognize arbitration and other alternative methods of dispute resolution? Are not sharia courts and fatwas different and therefore should not be clubbed together? What has been the performance of sharia courts in last 94 years? Has not the latest decision given new lease of life to the sharia courts? read

  • Divorcing Parents: 10 Questions to Ask Before Fighting Over the Kids

    Divorce attorney Larry Sarezky has created a short film to stop divorcing parents from engaging in high-conflict custody battles for the sake of the kids. I saw the film, Talk to Strangers, and was dramatically impacted by its message. Larry also provides ten questions divorcing parents should ask themselves before fighting over the kids in court. His years of experience have shown him the consequences for the children involved -- effects they'll experience on a life-long basis. Here are Larry's 10 questions, along with his opening comments about high conflict divorce. read

  • India: Mediation to settle the trouble in family

    Over 20,000 cases related to family disputes have been settled in Bangalore with the help of a third party mediator over the last 7 years.  
    1. Total no: of cases referred to mediation: 35784
    2. Total no: of cases mediated: 27915
    3. Total cases not mediated and returned: 5864
    4. Total cases mediated and settled: 20534 read

  • Can we change the mediation paradigm from voluntary to mandatory?

    I have just returned from an enjoyable but hectic visit to the United States. During my stay, I took some time to read up on the family law situation both in the US and north of the border in Canada. It is always intriguing to see such familiar family law touchstones as legal aid and mediation in a completely different context. read

  • Afghanistan election commission welcomes UN mediation

    Welcoming an agreement between the two top candidates brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations, Afghanistan’s election commission hopes to finish an audit of 23,000 polling stations within three weeks. Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani, chairman of the Independent Election Commission, told reporters Sunday that the commission is ready to start auditing all 8 million votes cast in the June 14 presidential runoff as soon as possible. Nouristani said after training auditors, the audit can begin in the presence of representatives from both candidates as well as national and international observers. The Kerry-brokered deal Saturday night for a full ballot audit offers a path out of political crisis for Afghanistan. Both candidates had claimed victory and were talking of setting up competing governments. read

  • Judge Orders Mediation in US Rep. Sanford Divorce

    A South Carolina Family Court judge has ordered U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford and his ex-wife, Jenny, to work with a mediator to resolve a dispute over money for their two youngest sons. The two appeared in court in Charleston on Monday. The issue is trust funds for the couple's two youngest boys. Their divorce agreement four years ago said the couple would try to work together to equalize the amount in the boys' trust funds so it's comparable with what was put in their older two boys' accounts at the time. read

  • Reality TV Discovers Mediation

    Remember when we used to lament the fact that there were no mediation tv shows? Well we had Fairly Legal which was farcically formulaic and often a bit silly. Now we have Untying the Knot, a new reality series on the Bravo network. The show follows New Jersey divorce attorney-mediator Vikki Ziegler as she “mediates” property division issues for divorcing couples. The reason for the quotes? Here’s why: read

  • UC Davis Strawberry Breeding Program Mediation Continues

    The California Strawberry Commission filed a lawsuit against UC Davis in October 2013 regarding its acclaimed strawberry breeding program. The commission expressed concern that the university was planning to end its breeding program. In April 2014, following months of meetings with the strawberry commission, the university filed a motion with the Alameda County Superior Court, asking that the lawsuit be dismissed as meritless. The university has assured the commission and other stakeholders that it is continuing the public breeding program, maintaining duplicate copies of each plant in the breeding program and recruiting for a new breeder with advanced genomic skills to join the program. read

  • Bloomingdale Big Box Development Gets Green Light As Mediation Reaches Agreement

    The outcome of the much anticipated judge-ordered mediation process, following a law suit filed by the Bloomingdale community against Hillsborough County and developer Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC, turned out to be a bitter pill to swallow for residents this month.  The disappointment came in a statement to residents by Coordinated Active Neighborhoods for Development Organization (Can-Do), which has taken the role of representing the community. In joining Plaintiff Fred Brown, Bloomingdale Can-Do and its officers have resolved all claims against Hillsborough County and developer Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC. After several rounds of meetings with representatives from Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC and Hillsborough County, Brown and the officers of Can-Do acknowledge that the project has the potential to enhance the neighborhood and surrounding community. The developer has shown a willingness to cooperate and listen to the community’s concerns. read

  • Is Your Arbitration Clause Outmoded?

    Although arbitration is a “creature of contract” and many arbitrations proceed in the manner outlined in the arbitration clause, it is not unusual for the parties and their counsel to alter the terms of the original clause to suit the dispute at hand. Often a dispute has arisen years after the arbitration clause was drafted, and circumstances have changed. The clause may no longer be appropriate. Although the parties and their lawyers may have strong disagreements on the merits of the case, they understand that stipulating to a customized process that suits the dispute is a huge benefit to everyone involved. This flexibility is one of the strong points of the arbitration process. The following suggestions are just a few of the ways to alter an outmoded clause: read

  • Martin County, Jupiter Island officials met for mediation over dredging dispute

    Sand is big business in Martin County. However, for people who live in the highly affluent community of Jupiter Island it can make or break their property values. It's also at the center of a debate that has raged for years between the county and the town which could end with a lawsuit. On Wednesday, county and town officials met for mediation. The two sides are at odds over the dredging of the St. Lucie inlet. read


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