Not sure if everyone read this already (I was away for a few days) but this sounds pretty impactful in the healthcare field as we as the ADR field.
From the Wall Street Journal on July 22nd: To cut medical-malpractice costs, five New York City hospitals have agreed to a pilot program to divulge medical mistakes early, offer settlements quickly and use special state "health courts,' where judges will help negotiate agreements before cases go to trial.
..."Judge-directed negotiations' will likely resemble a long-time mediation effort by Bronx Judge Douglas McKeon, who is credited with helping to cut malpractice costs incurred by New York City's Health and Hospitals Corp., which runs the city's public hospitals. The mediation effort has cut payouts to $130 million this year, from a high of $196 million in 2003, said Al Aviles, HHC's president.
...Nicholas I. Timko, president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, said he was hopeful but had concerns. "We favor initiatives that promote patient safety, but are concerned that the disclosure and early settlement program may allow negligent providers to escape responsibility for their actions and exploit patients unrepresented by counsel,' he said.
Read the full article [here]. Of course this raises many, many questions. To start with, here are two:
1) is this a new form of med-arb?
2) Do the judges have any formal mediation training?
Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.
Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.
He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.
(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)