Stay up to date on everything mediation!

Subscribe to our free newsletter,
"This Week in Mediation"

Sign Up Now

Already subscribed No subscription today

An Open Letter

by Phyllis Pollack
April 2010

From the Blog of Phyllis G. Pollack.

Phyllis  Pollack

In 1990, a California appellate court held that “absolute quasi-judicial immunity is properly extended to neutral third persons who are engaged in mediation, conciliation, evaluation or similar dispute resolution efforts.” Howard v. Drapkin (1990) 222 Cal. App. 3d 843, 851-860.( 222_cal__app__3d_843)

Recently, California Assembly Member James T. Beall, Jr. introduced AB 2475 (ab_2475 ) which would abolish such quasi-judicial immunity not only in all court ordered mediations but in those held privately, as well, It is rumored that the genesis of this draft legislation was a family law matter that went awry. That is, as rumor has it, a family law evaluator (not a mediator) submitted substantive written recommendations to the court which adopted them. The consequences were disastrous for the family who sued the evaluator but lost due to this quasi-judicial immunity.

In an attempt to correct the “problem,” Assembly Member Beall drafted this legislation which, “throws the baby out with the bath water.”

Because of the importance of this issue, I want to share with you, the letter I wrote as President of the Southern California Mediation Association to Assembly Member Beall opposing this legislation. ( letter)

As the issue affects not only mediators but parties to a dispute, (mediations are liable to become a lot less available), I urge each of you to write Assembly Member Beall and make your voice and thoughts known.

. . .Just something to think about.


Phyllis Pollack with PGP Mediation uses a facilitative, interest-based approach. Her preferred mediation style is facilitative in the belief that the best and most durable resolutions are those achieved by the parties themselves. The parties generally know the business issues and priorities, personalities and obstacles to a successful resolution as well as their own needs better than any mediator or arbitrator. She does not impose her views or make decisions for the parties. Rather, Phyllis assists the parties in creating options that meet the needs and desires of both sides.  When appropriate, visual aids are used in preparing discussions and illustrating possible solutions. On the other hand, she is not averse to being proactive and offering a generous dose of reality, particularly when the process may have stalled due to unrealistic expectations of attorney or client, a failure to focus on needs rather than demands, or when one or more parties need to be reminded of the potential consequences of their failure to reach an agreement.

Email Author

Additional articles by Phyllis Pollack