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Mediation in the News

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May 2014

  • When Mediation Makes Sense: A Win for Employers and Employees

    A recent article in the New York Times discussed a new law giving unpaid interns in New York the right to sue if they are harassed or discriminated against by an employer. The legislation takes effect in June, a time of year when interns flood New York City seeking opportunities for experience and hopefully paid employment down the road. The article was of particular interest to me, as I had just successfully mediated a matter where discrimination claims against a well-known clothing designer had been brought by 16 former employees. While the employees were not interns, they had brought unpaid wage and racial discrimination claims against their former employer. read

  • Mediator hired by General Motors starts talks to settle ignition switch lawsuits

    Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney who managed the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund has been hired by General Motors to settle claims from a deadly ignition switch problem and has started talks about compensating victims' families.  Kenneth Feinberg confirmed in an interview with The Associated Press that he met for four hours Friday with Robert Hilliard, a Corpus Christi, Texas, lawyer who said he represents families of 53 people killed and 273 injured in crashes of defective GM vehicles. Feinberg would not comment specifically on what was discussed. "I'm evaluating various compensation options for GM to consider," said Feinberg, who said plans to present the options to GM in the next few weeks. "I'm glad I met with him. It was an interesting meeting," Feinberg said. read

  • China to Encourage Third-party Mediation in Doctor-patient Disputes

    A senior official Monday said that the Chinese government will encourage third-party mediation in doctor-patient disputes. Community workers and social workers can play a better role in mediating between patients and hospitals, said Vice Premier Liu Yandong at a meeting on doctor-patient disputes. There have been many attempts to bring in an independent third party to help settle medical disputes and successful examples will be introduced nationwide, Liu said. Tension between doctors and patients have risen in recent years as a string of assaults on medical workers by patients or their families shocked the country. read

  • Arapaho promote mediation in Wind River Reservation border dispute

    A group of leaders from a Michigan town that successfully mediated a reservation boundary dispute is coming to Riverton, Wyoming, this week to share their story. The former mayor and tribal leaders from Mount Pleasant, Michigan, will be on hand for a symposium today at the Intertribal Building at Central Wyoming College. From 9 a.m. to noon, a panel discussion hosted by journalist Geoff O’Gara will discuss how the town of Mt. Pleasant and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe drafted agreements to resolve long-standing jurisdiction problems. The group is coming to town at the request of the Northern Arapaho Tribe in hopes that their experience might provide a positive example for how to resolve an ongoing boundary dispute at the Wind River Indian Reservation. read

  • Arbitration Is Fair and Efficient for Consumers

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released phase one of its study on the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in connection with consumer financial products and services. Among the study's preliminary findings, the CFPB determined that larger institutions are more likely to use arbitration clauses, arbitration clauses in account agreements can often be complex, and these agreements often contain class-action waivers. The preliminary study, released in December, read alone might also suggest that arbitration clauses could disadvantage consumers. However, because it was only a preliminary look, the report failed to paint a complete picture of the costs and benefits of arbitration. read

  • Mediation Perspectives: Fighting ‘Feminist Fatigue’

    Despite decades of advocacy, why are women still so poorly represented at the peace table? In 2012, UN Women reported that women accounted for just four per cent of participants in 31 major peace processes between 1992 and 2011. Why is this number so low despite international mechanisms like United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women? A partial answer to this question may be found in the shortcomings of certain approaches to promoting women’s rights. In particular, the effectiveness of some strands of academic and policy literature on women, peace and security (WPS), and related advocacy campaigns that push for greater representation and participation of women at the peace table, can be questioned. read

April 2014

  • The Breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian Talks and the Dance of Mediation

    Much has been written about the collapse of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which officially expired yesterday. As I wrote in the context of both the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and in the context of mediations in Syria, the readiness of the parties to reach a mutually acceptable solution is the most important factor dictating the success of a mediation, and in this instance, either one or both of the parties is not ready to negotiate. Yet mediators, not just parties, can also trigger a blowup of the mediation without intending to. read

  • New family court system welcomed by solicitors and mediators

    A leading York family law solicitor and mediators have welcomed major changes to divorce and child care proceedings that came into effect earlier this week. Before Easter, three different courts handled the legal part of family break-ups. Now the new Family Court will deal with all the work that previously went to the other three courts. It will also be compulsory for couples to take part in mediation before going to a court to resolve their differences. read

  • A conscious uncoupling

    Gwyneth Paltrow has come in for much criticism over her desire to have a civilized divorce. But, says Catherine Thomas, surely she should be applauded.  Each case and each divorce is unique. None has provoked such a uniquely vitriolic reaction as the headlines that have been spinning over Gwyneth Paltrow’s request on her website for privacy during her divorce. She hoped that as she had ‘always conducted her relationship privately’ the public and press would extend her the same courtesy for her divorce as she goes through the process to ‘consciously uncouple and co parent.’ read

  • Best Practices for Construction Dispute Mediation

    Though I make my living in the courtroom, I have been a strong advocate for the mediation of construction disputes for many years. Quite frankly, it is the best thing ever to happen to the process of resolving construction disputes. While there are many reasons why parties should and do consider mediation, none could be as compelling as its high success rate. Many contracts, including the current AIA forms, give the option for mediation when a dispute arises. In addition, most courts will require mediation as part of the litigation process. Therefore, it’s important to understand the process of mediation. read

  • Singapore children pay up for parents

    The concept of filial piety carries such weight in society that it has even found its way into national legislation. The Maintenance of Parents Act states that any resident over the age of 60 who find themselves in difficulty can apply to a tribunal for their children to provide financial support. The process first involves attempts at conciliation under the Commissioner for the Maintenance of Parents. If this fails, both sides then go for mediation, and failing that, a hearing before the tribunal. read

  • Grand Canyon Skywalk Litigation Dispute Resolved

    The Grand Canyon Skywalk hovers peacefully over the majestic gorge now as the developer, Grand Canyon Skywalk Development, LLC (GCSD), and Hualapai tribe have reached a settlement after several days of mediation. The resolution ends more than three years of protracted litigation in multiple venues including federal district and appellate courts, the Hualapai Tribal Court, and Hualapai Appeals Court. The Skywalk, located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation northwest of Kingman, Arizona, was the brainchild of visionary developer, David Jin, who had wanted for decades to develop the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. He brought the idea to the tribe of a transparent, cantilever U-shaped bridge that allowed visitors to gaze straight down 4,000 feet into the heart of the canyon and onto the Colorado River. read

  • People looking for a lawyer are turning to the Internet first, survey finds

    Once upon a time, the first thing that an overwhelming majority of people in need of legal representation would do is turn to relatives or friends for personal referrals. Some would consult the Yellow Pages or the local bar association, while only a small handful would use the Internet before any of the other aforementioned options. According to a recent survey conducted by and Thomson Reuters, those numbers have completely flipped around over the last decade. While the Internet was once the least popular option, according to results published last week, using the Web first is now the most popular choice among respondents. FindLaw and Thomson Reuters found that 38 percent of the 1,000 respondents said that they would use the Internet first. That was considerably higher than the other available options: 29 percent of respondents would ask a friend or relative first, 10 percent would go straight to the local bar association; and 4 percent would rely on the Yellow Pages.  read

  • ACC and Maryland heading to mediation over bitter divorce

    A mediator has been assigned for the ongoing court battle between the ACC and Big Ten-bound Maryland. Agreeing to mediation could be a sign that a settlement is coming together, although given the bitterness between the two sides to this point it should not be considered an absolute given.  The Washington Post was first to report the news of the mediation agreement. According to the report by The Washington Post, the mediator’s directive will be “focus the parties’ attention on settlement rather than on trial preparation and to provide a structured opportunity for settlement negotiations to take place.” The mediation meeting must take place before July 10, after Maryland officially joins the Big Ten (July 1 is when schools officially make conference affiliation changes official). read

  • Facebook as Silent Mediator

    It is not an overstatement to say that Facebook has had a significant impact on how people socialize. The website is virtual home to over one billion users. On Facebook, families are better able to stay in touch and old friends have an easier time finding one another. In this world of status updates, likes, event invites and pokes, relationships are made and sometimes even broken. Facebook is the internet’s great silent mediator. read

  • Finra's Arbitrators: Dubious, Asleep—Sometimes Dead

    When a couple in Wichita claimed they lost $187,500 in what they called a Ponzi scheme orchestrated by a Morgan Stanley (MS) broker, the industry-funded Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) provided a list of potential arbitrators to resolve the dispute. Two of the people were dead, one for more than two years, according to Diane Nygaard, the couple’s lawyer. She calls the faulty list a sign of a broken system that has failed to protect investors. “If it were a regular judicial system, you would not have a case appointed to people who are dead,” she says. “Wall Street should not have a special pet court that they operate.” read

  • General Mills abandons mandatory arbitration after consumer outcry

    General Mills Inc., maker of Cheerios and other grocery staples, has reversed a recent change to its online legal policy after an outcry by consumers.  The policy had been quietly updated last week to include terms under which any dispute with the company would have to be decided through arbitration, a change first reported by the New York Times last week. Critics and legal experts said the new terms could cost consumers their right to sue in court if they merely "liked" General Mills' social media pages, downloaded coupons from its website or entered any company-sponsored contests. General Mills initially criticized the media reports on the policy, saying they had mischaracterized it. The company also defended arbitration as "a straightforward and efficient way to resolve such disputes — and many companies take the same approach. We even cover the cost of arbitration in most cases." But the coverage set off consumer outcry on social media, eventually leading to the abrupt reversal Saturday. read

  • UK: A Little More Conversation: How Mediation Law Change Can Help Take the Element of Dispute From Divorce

    Relationship breakdown is seldom easy for those involved. In some instances, emotions are so raw that the fracture can lead to an irreconcilable breakdown in communication. The desire to demonstrate who was right and who was wrong compels individuals to air their differences in court. However, that does not just mean turning up at court and asking the judge for a decision. It can mean a lot of preparation, investigation, time and expense and can have lasting consequences for the couple concerned and those close to them, especially their children. Thankfully, conflict is not a common element of every divorce, even if divorce itself is far too frequent for the liking of many commentators. According to figures released recently by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), some 42 per cent of marriages now end in divorce. read

  • Mediation Skills Help Build High Quality Job Candidates

    Each summer a cohort of students spends intensive hours developing and sharpening skills that numerous employers are seeking in today's ideal employment candidate. Many conflict resolution skills, such as effective listening and communicating, problem solving, impartiality, and decision-making are core components of effective leadership which are sought by employers. read

  • New Family Court comes into being amid justice reforms

    New combined Family Courts have come into being in England and Wales as part of family justice system reforms. The plan also includes new time frames for cases where children are taken into care and compulsory mediation awareness sessions for separating couples. Justice Minister Simon Hughes said it was "a hugely important change" to what had been a "very dysfunctional system". But the chief executive of the Family Rights Group charity said some of the changes could "work against children". read

  • Village Mediation mends village fences

    The Village Mediation Program was erected in the 1980s to give residents a tool to address such situations. Since then, a group of 12–15 trained volunteer mediators from the community have made themselves available to bring interested parties together to talk out their differences. This year the mediator group is looking for new volunteers to help manage the average case load of one to two mediations per month, and they have organized a free two-day training program for anyone interested in either becoming a volunteer mediator or gaining skills in conflict resolution. read

  • Mediation made divorce 'more respectful'

    Mediation can make divorce "more respectful" and help the splitting couple from arguing unnecessarily, according to one mother. Natasha Brittan told Daybreak sitting down with her estranged husband and an impartial referee with legal knowledge had helped them have an amicable divorce. "It just made everything more respectful, kinder and we did not want, or certainly I did not want my divorce to define the rest of my life. read

  • Big impact in small claims

    No one shouts in this people’s court. There are no tears. Tension can run high, but volunteers with the Quad-Cities Mediation Services work with plaintiffs and defendants in Scott County District Small Claims Court to move toward solutions. Just over half of the 600 or so small claims lawsuits filed each year are resolved in the tiniest of meeting rooms on the courthouse’s third floor. The service handles the mediation district court magistrates require before hearing any small claims case. Volunteers bring the litigants together for a guided process that bypasses the drama of the courtroom reality shows. “We’re not here to belittle you,” Magistrate Doug Wells said of small claims court. “We’re here to make a decision in your case.” Volunteer mediators describe a unique community service that is challenging, but very rewarding. They commit to one or two days a month that begin at noon and wrap up within an hour or two. “You see actual results for real people,” Mediation Services Director Linda Schneider said. “Sometimes you can feel the burden being lifted off these people.”  read

  • Criminal Mediation: Violating Victims' Rights?

    Criminal mediation isn’t common, but some critics say it traumatizes victims and infringes on their constitutional rights. When a felony case is mediated, the defendant, prosecutor and defense attorney meet with a mediating judge, hoping to avoid a trial. They hash out all issues, including reduced charges, continuing relationships with the victim, sentencing, restitution and admissibility of evidence. The defendant and defense attorney are in one room, the prosecutor in another. The mediating judge travels between them, and the proceedings are neither recorded nor reported. Such confidentiality encourages both parties to be open and avoids violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights, said Linda Trout, a retired Idaho Supreme Court justice who serves as a criminal mediator and sits on the Criminal Mediation Committee overseeing the process. But Betsy Z. Russell, president of the Idaho Press Club, expressed concerns.  read

  • State To Expand Court-Sponsored ADR Programs

    The Connecticut Judicial Branch has announced a host of initiatives to improve court-sponsored alternative dispute resolution in order to keep up with the demand to resolve civil cases short of trial.  New initiatives announced by Chief Justice Chase Rogers will include expanding the number of judges who are trained to serve as mediators, to begin later this year. There are currently 60 judge and judge trial referees available for the Judicial Branch's ADR program, but many are not available to serve for lengthy periods of time as mediatiors. Increasing the number of judges who are available to provide mediation services on more than a limited basis to help parties reach a settlement will fill vacancies created by several Superior Court judges who left the bench in recent years to start their own mediation practices in recent years, Rogers said.  Another new initiative is to have attorneys appointed to serve as mediators. Rogers said the attorneys could be hired by the branch on a case by case basis, similar to the current appointments of attorney trial referees. "For example, attorneys with particular expertise in construction law, commercial disputes or probate law could be an invaluable asset in resolving those kinds of cases, where a substantice expertise in a specialized area is essential to understanding the issues of the case," Rogers said. read

  • Mediation service looks to settle community disputes in Limerick

    A new mediation service will allow for the resolution of disputes at community level without resorting to the costly and stressful legal route. Run by the Limerick Community Law and Mediation Centre, the new service has been launched by Minister Jan O’Sullivan at Moyross Community Enterprise Centre. Speaking at the event, Moyross PP Fr Tony O’Riordan said: “this is a much needed service for Limerick and in particular those communities identified for regeneration. I believe that a community mediation process will enhance social inclusion by empowering the communities to resolve issues in a non-adversarial way and help to build community relations”. read

  • Judge Orders Detroit Into Mediation Over Regional Water Authority

    A federal judge Thursday ordered this bankrupt city into mediation with its suburbs to reach an agreement on a new regional water authority to oversee water and sewer services currently provided by the city. Months of direct talks between the city of Detroit and the surrounding Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties has failed to produce an agreement on a new authority. But U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes said a regional authority could still be in the best interest of the city and its suburbs. "I also have a sense that this bankruptcy offers a unique opportunity for the creation of that regional authority," Judge Rhodes said. "If we do not take advantage of that unique opportunity, the opportunity in all likelihood will be lost forever." read

  • Judge orders Prime Prep and Fort Worth church into mediation

    A state district judge ordered Prime Prep Academy and Charity Church — where the school held classes until the end of March — into mediation in hopes of settling a dispute over a lease agreement. During a hearing Wednesday state District Judge John Chupp ordered the church and school to begin mediation proceedings in two weeks. Chupp also extended a temporary restraining order for two weeks, and the school will continue not paying rent to the church for the time being. Charity Church and Prime Preparatory Academy are fighting over a lease that called for the school to pay $18,000 a month in rent. The lease was agreed to by former Superintendent D.L. Wallace, who left Prime Prep for a position at Charity Church earlier this year. Prime Prep was co-founded in 2011 by pro football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and Wallace, his business partner at the time. read

  • Short Film MEDIATION to Screen at Beverly Hills Film Festival

    Award-winning filmmaker Francisco's short film "Mediation" is set to screen at the upcoming 14th Annual Beverly Hills Film Festival as well as the 9th Annual Sunscreen Film Festival. "Mediation" is the first project released by the brand new Film/TV production company entitled Top Rebel Productions - the brainchild of actor Freddy Rodriguez, Francico Lorite and veteran producer Bill Winett. The short tells the story of a divorce mediation that spirals completely out of control for a husband (Freddy Rodriguez), his soon-to-be ex-wife (Marley Shelton) and their court-appointed mediator (Marilyn Sanabria). read

  • Papal mediator put to test as Venezuela peace talks resume

    When Pietro Parolin was appointed last year by Pope Francis as the Vatican’s secretary of state, the Cardinal said he had been entrusted with a “difficult and challenging mission”. The Italian mediator’s diplomatic skills will be tested fully as he seeks to act as a “good faith witness” in talks that resume on Tuesday between Venezuela’s government and members of its opposition aimed at ending the violent unrest that has left at least 41 people dead in the country over the past two months. read

  • UK National mediation initiative gets under way

    Firms in four cities have kicked off a national mediation initiative designed to help separating couples and demonstrate to lawyers the commercial viability of providing the service. Lawyer Supported Mediation has been set up by trained mediator Marc Lopatin (pictured) with ‘mediation hubs’ in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and London. Two more cities will join later in the year. The initiative is launched ahead of a change to the law making it compulsory for separating couples to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) before issuing family proceedings. The change is introduced on 22 April, under section 10 of the Children and Families Act. read

  • Finra gets arbitration process back on track in Puerto Rico

    Finra has expanded its pool of arbitrators and is ready to move forward with the hundreds of complaints related to collapses in Puerto Rico bond funds, according to an announcement posted on its web site Monday. After several months of deliberation, Finra said it will resume processing investor complaints now that it has about 700 arbitrators from Southeastern U.S. and Texas who are willing to fly to Puerto Rico. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. has also resolved issues related to the language barrier as UBS AG and Bank of America Merrill Lynch agreed to pay fees for translators. read

  • Conflict Management, Not Resolution: America's Role in Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

    The current round of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is on the brink of collapse, with each side accusing the other of failing to live up to previous commitments. Thus, after nine months of fruitless negotiations and the U.S.'s overly ambitious assessment that a deal could be reached within that time frame, Israel and the Palestinians are back where they began. read

  • President of the Family Division hails 'revolution'

    Forthcoming changes to the family law in England and Wales amount to a “revolution”, the President of the Family Division has claimed. In the recently published 11th View from the President’s Chamber, Sir James Munby said: “Central to this revolution has been – has had to be – a fundamental change in the cultures of the family courts. This is truly a cultural revolution.” The family courts stand “on the cusp of history” and the changes due on April 22nd mark “the largest reform of the family justice system any of us have seen or will see in our professional lifetimes.” read

  • Ex-jailers, former inmates enter mediation

    Two former Hall County Sheriff’s Office employees have entered into mediation with three then-inmates alleging civil rights violations in a Dec. 22, 2010, incident at the jail. Plaintiffs Devonta Wise, his brother Mautious Wise and Russell Green are suing the sheriff’s office, ex-jailer Dustin Charlton and then-Jail Capt. Mark Bandy, alleging their federal civil rights were denied. All three plaintiffs were being boarded in from Fulton County. Their suit alleges the employees were physically abusive, denied them medical care and called them disparaging names, including “trash that Fulton County did not want,” in violation of state law and the U.S. Constitution: the First Amendment right to express concerns about subpar treatment at the jail, cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment and excessive force and mistreatment based on race in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. read

  • MIAMs and mediation: a beginner’s guide

    UK: Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMs), were first introduced in April 2011, but they weren’t compulsory back then and referrals to mediation have fallen dramatically since. But from 22 April 2014, if you are considering making an application to the court about your children you will most certainly need to know what they are, who can provide them and if you need to have one before issuing court proceedings (and in most cases you will). MIAMs are designed to ensure that couples are aware of mediation as a potential way to resolve their problems outside a courtroom.  A MIAM is a meeting with a mediator in which the couple is provided with information about the mediation process and the legal framework that applies to their situation. It is a formal assessment of mediation’s suitability for their individual case. read

  • Amanpour asks Venezuelan President Maduro about mediation

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has agreed to talks with the opposition – with the Vatican as mediator, Reuters reports. CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked President Maduro about this very idea - of having the pope as mediator - when she interviewed him exclusively last month in Caracas. read

  • Surface Transportation Board directs BNSF Railway, Kansas City Southern Railway, and Union Pacific to "Engage in mandatory mediation to resolve" issue of trackage rights

    STB's decision announced Monday, April 14, 2014, notes BNSF filed a letter in September 2013 stating the railroad "is more than willing to engage in three-carrier discussions" to resolve outstanding access issues.  STB's decision emphasizes, "The Board favors the resolution of disputes through mediation in lieu of formal Board proceedings whenever possible." STB will appoint a mediator, but notes the Class I railroads involved "may choose to hire a non-Board mediator" as long as the STB is notified within 10 days of the decision. read

  • Mediation In Turkey: An Alternative Method For Dispute Resolution

    Long awaited Turkish mediation legislation was implemented in 2013 and regulates the terms and conditions for mediators and mediation. This law has been brought into force within the frame of harmonization of Turkish laws with EU legislation. Only the persons which fulfill the requirements stated by the Mediation Law may practice the profession as mediator. In Turkish law system, the use of this alternative dispute resolution may be decided by the parties freely and they are subject to equal terms and conditions during the whole mediation process ("equality principle"). Other principles concerning the mediation are: Ban on advertising of mediators; Confidentiality: Obligation to exercise diligence and principle of objectivity and independency; Duty to provide clarification of parties about the mediation period, its legal principles and legal conclusions; and a Duty to keep the documents. read

  • Add a few extra chairs to the mediation table

    Yet another former LandAmerica employee is taking a legal swing at the collapsed company’s heavy hitters. A lawsuit filed March 20 against 15 former LandAmerica executives and directors seeks to blame them for losses suffered by the company’s pension fund during and in the wake of its downfall in 2009. It’s the second such case filed in the past three months in Richmond federal court. Like its predecessor, the suit seeks to force the 15 defendants to foot the bill for millions of dollars of losses to the fund. The suit could also trigger insurance policies that the company would have had to potentially cover the executives and directors. The two cases are similar enough in their claims that the newest suit was ordered into the same mediation process as the previous filing. read

  • New Jersey: New handbook promotes agricultural mediation for farm-related disputes

    Agriculture Secretary Douglas H. Fisher announced today that the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) has published the New Jersey Agricultural Mediation Program Handbook to promote the use of mediation in resolving agriculture-related disputes. “Many farm-related conflicts stem from miscommunication or a lack of communication,” said Secretary Fisher. “Mediation can help bridge the gap by providing a trained mediator to guide discussion and resolution of issues quickly and amicably, saving farmers and everyone else involved time and money.” The New Jersey Agricultural Mediation Program Handbook explains how the program works and provides examples of successful mediations. read

  • Emerging markets need to improve arbitration system

    Dubai: Emerging markets need to upgrade their legal infrastructure, particularly those related to arbitration rules and regulation, experts said at the second day of the Annual Investment Meeting 2014 in Dubai. Louis Wells, Professor of international management at the Harvard Business School, said that despite the remarkable growth emerging markets could achieve in attracting foreign investments, these countries should work harder to improve their arbitration system. Arbitration is a very important instrument for improving the overall investment environment in the emerging markets and governments should do better in this to facilitate and protect these investments, Wells said. read

  • Modesto attorney works as a mediator in civil cases

    Dave Walker, a Modesto attorney with Damrell, Nelson, Schrimp, Pallios, Pacher & Silva, also works as a mediator in civil cases. Many of those cases involve automobile accidents, but others center on people wrangling over estate matters, neighbors tussling over boundary disputes or consumers seeking resolution when they believe a company hasn’t lived up to its promises. Mediators are “usually used for civil claims, claims for money damages most often that are headed to court or are already in the court system,” Walker said. The Stanislaus County court system “has a mediation program that’s been going since about 2005. The courts give people a list of potential mediators. A lot of people contact me directly, but the courts refer people as well. If you do a good job, hopefully, they’ll come back.” Most of the time, he said, he’ll mediate a case that is already in the court system. But, occasionally, people will come to him before the matter gets to court. read

  • Police unions reject pension settlement, sending state back into mediation

    The Superior Court judge overseeing the legal battle over Rhode Island’s 2011 attempt to curb exploding public-employee pension costs ordered the combatants back into mediation on Monday after police rejected the proposed settlement nearly 2 to 1. Police were the smallest of the six public-employee groups voting on the proposed settlement that their union leaders hammered out with lawyers for Governor Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo during close to a year of court-ordered, closed-door talks.  State employees and teachers were among those who tacitly approved the proposed deal, under an arrangement where any one of the 23,624 mailed ballots that was not returned counted as a “yes” vote. But under the terms of the settlement agreement, “if more than 50 percent of any one of the plaintiff groups vote to reject, the settlement process ends.” read

  • Apple, Google negotiate to head off trial in tech-hiring collusion case

    The biggest technology companies in Silicon Valley including Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. are in mediation with workers who want $9 billion in damages over claims the firms colluded to not recruit talent from each other, driving wages down, the New York Times said. The companies, which have already settled a U.S. Justice Dept. probe by promising to sin no more, are contending with evidence in the case that they will find difficult to explain away. Emails between Apple founder Steve Jobs and Google CEO in particular demonstrate the executives' desire not to compete. The two sides are mediating as they wait for a trial set to begin May 27. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on March 28 denied the company's attempt to have the suit dismissed. read

  • Peer mediation program encourages maturity and safe environment for students

    In recent years, Cleveland Independent School District has faced some rocky roads and various positive programs have been put in place to allow for a more solid educational foundation with a brighter future. Cleveland High School Assistant Principal Edna O’Bryant is doing her part in promoting positivity by helping to form a peer mediation group, where students can come to a safe environment and talk their problems out in a mature manner, without the risk of things getting too far out of hand between the students. Unlike a trip to the counselor’s office, however, this program is essentially organized by the students and presided over with a courtroom mentality. O’Bryant is both ex-military and an ex-prison guard, and has been with the school district for approximately two years. During her time with the district, she has worked to make the students feel that they can air their grievances in a way that can be a positive resolution for everyone involved. read

  • Conflict Mediation a Key Tool for Same-Sex Couples

    Our lives sometimes seem filled with concerns or disagreements that too often spiral out of control into full-blown disputes. These conflicts may be with the ones we most love or may concern issues vitally important to us. These incidents may be with a partner relating to the dissolution of a relationship, with the family of a loved one regarding issues of care during an illness, with others laying claim to an inheritance after a death, with a former partner concerning visitation rights to children, with a child regarding access to grandchildren, or with an employer, school, neighbor, or merchant.  Traditional mechanisms for resolution use the “win/lose” dynamic. Conflict resolution is, then, a risk-filled process. “Mediation” or a “Shared Decision Making Process” offers a completely different model of conflict resolution. Within mediation, conflict may be seen as an opportunity rather than a problem. The operational theory of mediation is “win-win.” read

  • Mediation resolves 32-year-old civil case

    India: Bharatlal Gangotri, 81, admitted that he had been left hassled attending the dates of this seemingly unending case which had dragged on for around 32 years before it was finally settled on Saturday during a live mediation session at the district court on Saturday. The legal heirs of Gangotri's late opponent were also present for settling the matter through the alternative dispute resolution process. Of the 39 cases that were taken up, 28 matters were settled through mediation in a single day. Though mediation is a process where confidentiality is maintained, the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) allowed the law students and lawyers to observe the sessions in order to popularize the concept. read

  • Mediation for dog owner who assaulted man who killed family pet

    A second trial slated for Monday between feuding neighbours in the R.M. of Grant has been referred to mediation. Facing one count of assault, Michael Price will be heading to mediation in early May. The charge stems from an incident in which the family’s dog, an eight-month old Saint Bernard, was shot and killed by their neighbour, Eugene Krawchuk when it wandered into their pasture. Referring the case to mediation requires that Price accept responsibility for his actions and participate in either mediation or a court diversion program, such as counselling. According to a Justice Ministry alternative measures program manual, if the mediation or alternative program is completed successfully, the charge will be withdrawn. read

  • Downtown Raleigh noise complaints could soon be handled by mediation

    Raleigh city staff, residents and bar owners are working to develop a mediation system that will help alleviate tension between downtown residents and nightclub owners. A new mediation system will begin as a pilot program in the Glenwood South district, the source of most club-related noise complaints. Bars and clubs will be required to list online a 24-hour contact person for residents to call about noise. The contact person could then address the problem without involving the police department. The next step will be a meeting with an independent mediator from the police department to help broker a solution. If the problems persist, the police department could cite a business and the city could revoke or not renew the business’s amplified sound permits. read

  • The Benefits of Trusting Your Mediator

    Who exactly is the opposition in mediation? Should you reveal your trial strategies to the mediator? What about disclosing your settlement authority? Some concepts may seem obvious, others may not, but it is surprising how often mediating parties employ tactics that are unhelpful to their cause. read

  • Biotech wheat litigation goes into mediation

    The lawsuits against Monsanto over the unapproved release of genetically modified wheat have been put on hiatus as farmers and the company have agreed to enter mediation. Several farmers filed lawsuits against Monsanto in 2013 after “volunteer” wheat plants were found in an Oregon field that were genetically modified to withstand glyphosate herbicide. No biotech varieties of wheat have been approved for the U.S. market. Monsanto developed and tested a biotech wheat variety several years ago, but the USDA never deregulated the variety after multiple global markets said they would not accept and GM wheat variety. The discovery of the GM wheat last year led to Japan and South Korea closing their markets to U.S. wheat, which cost many farmers significantly. The USDA’s investigation into how the GM wheat got into the Oregon field is still ongoing. All of the lawsuits filed were consolidated before a federal judge in Kansas who recently agreed to stay the proceedings while Monsanto and the growers enter mediation. read

  • Denver monitor's police mediation program gets national spotlight

    A Denver program that puts in the same room police officers and community members who file complaints against them is serving as a national model as the independent police monitor heads to St. Louis to help the city create a program of its own. On Monday, independent monitor Nicholas Mitchell will travel to St. Louis to meet with a team researching mediation programs in other cities. Since its inception in 2006, the Office of the Independent Monitor's Mediation Program has completed more than 365 successful mediations. The program — a collaborative effort by the Denver Police Department, Denver Sheriff's Department and Community Mediation Concepts — allows a person who filed a complaint about an officer to sit down with that officer and a third-party mediator to discuss their complaint and the interaction that led to it. read

March 2014

  • Google, Gmail Complainants to Give Mediation a Try

    Google and the group of complainants that accused the technology titan of breaching federal and state wiretap laws by scanning Gmail messages, are to meet with a mediator next month in the hopes of resolving their differences. It is unclear why Google, which revealed the upcoming mediation in recently filed court papers, has chosen to take this step after winning a major victory last week in the case which launched in 2010. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh denied the group class-action status for its lawsuit accusing Google of violating their privacy — a decision that saved the company from possibly having to shell out billions of dollars in damages. Koh tossed the request, saying the cases were too dissimilar to be categorized as a class-action lawsuit. The California judge also said the groups cannot again apply for a broad-based class-action. The complainants still have the option of suing Google in small groups or on their own, but that lowers their payout chances and significantly increases their legal costs to bring their cases to trial. Koh’s decision make’s Google’s move to attend mediation sessions with its accusers rather curious. read

  • The custom justice of ‘problem-solving courts’

    A new kind of court is reshaping the American legal system—with little oversight.  When Governor Deval Patrick introduced his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, tucked amid big-ticket items like education and health care were a few small changes to the Massachusetts criminal justice system. If approved, the budget would create eight new courts: three designed specifically to deal with defendants suffering from mental illness and five for those struggling with drug addiction. In the scheme of the $36.4 billion budget, these courts represent a modest investment, and would seem like an uncontroversial nod to the idea that certain people benefit from more individualized attention in court. But in legal terms, Governor Patrick’s proposal is tapping into something much bigger. It’s a new idea about criminal justice, rooted as much in sociology and psychology as in law: the notion that certain kinds of offenders are better handled by dealing with the problems underlying their crimes rather than with simple punishment. Specialty courts—sometimes known as “problem-solving courts”—have enjoyed a rapid rise nationwide over the past 20 years, and now exist in every jurisdiction in the United States. read

  • State, HP in mediation over child support computer system

    South Carolina has run up more than $100 million in penalties over long-delayed project.  The state and Hewlett Packard are in mediation over a long-delayed computerized child support enforcement project, a state official told senators this morning. The project, which has been decades in the making, has drawn more than $100 million in penalties from the federal government over the years. The federal government requires states to have a computerized child support enforcement system. South Carolina is the only state that does not have such a system running. read

  • Free Mediation in New York City

    It's nearly a cliché: In New York, city of overpriced everything, you can get the most amazing stuff free of charge. We've got free Fridays at MoMA, free kayaking at the Downtown Boathouse, free lunch with the Hare Krishnas—yada, yada, yada. But recently, I heard a new one: A pal got his family squabble resolved through free mediation at something called the New York Peace Institute. Free mediation? The going rate for formal mediation is worse than therapy—$250 an hour or more. But when I called the Peace Institute, CEO Brad Heckman confirmed my buddy's account: Whether you're squabbling with a tenant, your ex-wife or the exterminator, you can stop by the institute's Financial District office for a confidential session with your personal King Solomon. There's almost no case it won't take. Roommates fighting over the dishes, bizarre love triangles, a co-worker stealing ideas—the institute's mediators see it all. read

  • Intense mediation leads to agreement on historic Tequesta site in downtown Miami

    The owners of a downtown Miami site where archaeologists found remnants of a prehistoric Tequesta Indian village have agreed to a plan that will preserve and display “critical” pieces in place while allowing development of a long-planned hotel and entertainment complex, a mediator said Thursday evening. The announced compromise, which appeared to end weeks of controversy over the site’s fate, was hammered out over two long days of intense mediation talks this week among the developer, MDM Group, consulting archaeologist Bob Carr, preservationists and state, city and Miami-Dade County legal and historic-preservation staffers. In a significant concession that mediator Angel Cortiñas called “historic,” MDM agreed to redesign its complex to install glass enclosures over a pair of circular arrays of carved postholes in the bedrock that archaeologists believe mark the foundations of Tequesta dwellings or other structures. A brick-lined well believed to have been part of a 19th Century U.S. Army fort will be covered with a glass floor. read

  • Felony Charges Reduced for Accused Child Molester in Mediation

    Six felony charges of lewd conduct with a child have been reduced to two misdemeanor counts of disturbing the peace after an unusual mediation in a criminal case. Michael J. Beck, 47, of Burley, was charged in February 2013 with six felony counts of lewd conduct with a child under 16. A jury trial for the case that was slated for April 7 has been vacated. Instead, the case went before a mediator March 14, and the parties reached resolution on all issues, court records show. The mediator reported that the parties agreed to amend the charges to the two misdemeanors. Cassia County Prosecutor Al Barrus said his office had a conflict of interest with the case, so it was turned over to Minidoka County. Minidoka County ultimately turned the case over to Twin Falls County for the same reason. Beck had pleaded not guilty last summer to the charges of alleged abuse of an 8-year-old girl, two 11-year-old girls, a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy. Beck was accused of having sexual contact with all three girls, witnessed by the boys. read

  • Ex-Mars Hill pastors want mediation, repentance

    A group of 20 former pastors at Seattle-based Mars Hill Church have asked church leaders, including pastor Mark Driscoll, to begin a mediation process aimed at mutual repentance and reconciliation. The request, first disclosed by the Patheos website, was addressed to executive elders of the mega-church and its Board of Advisers and Accountability. Driscoll sits on both groups. It comes in the wake of a weekend apology letter to the church community in which Driscoll pledged to “reset my life.” He voiced regret over a book-selling scheme, and lamented recent “significant turnover of key staff members.” “I am deeply grieved and even depressed by the pain we have caused,” Driscoll wrote. read

  • Yukta-hubby row mediation successful

    A mediator appointed by the Bombay high court to explore the possibility of reconciliation between former Miss world Yookta Mookhey and her estranged husband Prince Pal Tuli has informed the judge that the mediation was successful. The HC has now scheduled the matter for further hearing on March 26 when the mediation report is likely to be discussed. Tuli had last year moved the HC for anticipatory bail in a cruelty case filed by Mookhey against him. Sheh ad accused him of cruelty to her, intimidation and unnatural offence.The HC had in October directed that a senior advocate be appointed as a mediator to resolve the dispute amicably between the couple. The mediator appointed was advocate Rajeev Patil. On March 13, he informed Justice Mridula Bhatkar in the HC that the mediation was complete. He however sought a week's time to submit his report. The counsel for Tuli, advocate Filjee Frederick and Taubon Irani for Mookhey were present and orally informed the judge that the "mediation is successful.' read

  • In the City: Community Mediation Program helps neighbors mend fences

    Springtime is upon us and the cold days of winter are fading behind. Some conflicts that cooled with the weather may heat up again now that people and animals are outside and neighbors see more of each other. Spring is a time of change and renewal. As you think about things you would like to change, renew or improve, consider some of the relationships or situations around you. Do you have a new or recurring issue with your landlord, your tenant, your housemate or your neighbor? Would you like to make progress toward fixing it?There are many ways to approach solving an issue in a peaceful and productive manner. This spring, commit to solving an issue or conflict in your life. You might first try approaching the other person with an open mind. read

  • Worcester to implement foreclosure mediation, despite possibility of legal challenge

    The city is gearing up for implementation of the foreclosure mediation ordinance approved by the City Council late last year, even though legal challenges remain regarding the implementation of similar ordinances elsewhere in the state. City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. said the city is working to implement the foreclosure mediation program in its entirety as soon as possible, pending City Council approval of a necessary administrative reorganization and budgetary package. The initial groundwork for implementing the ordinance involves reorganizing the Executive Office of Economic Development's Division of Neighborhood Services so it can administer the mediation program, as well as a funding appropriation to cover program costs for the rest of the fiscal year. read

  • Another day, another fight! Charlie Sheen to 'haul Denise Richards into mediation' in his continued bid to reduce $55K a month child support

    Charlie Sheen has fired his latest shot in his war against wife Denise Richards. The 48-year-old is now taking the mother of his two daughters - Sam, 10, and Lola, eight - to private mediation as he continues to try to get his $55,000 a month child support payment reduced. RadarOnline reported on Friday while the actor had previously hoped to plead his case in front of a judge in court, he will now have to settle for a retired judge.  An insider told the website that the Anger Management star’s legal team has 'formally notified Denise and her lawyers that they will be headed to private mediation next week to try and get the child support reduced'. The source said: 'The mediation will be handled by a retired judge who has handled various issues for the former couple over the years since their divorce. read

  • Singapore: Increase Community Mediation Centre's capacity and provide more mediation training to grassroots leaders

    The government plans to increase the capacity of the Community Mediation Centre of CMC and provide more mediation training to grassroots leaders. Speaking during the committee of supply debate, Acting Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong says CMC has a fairly good success rate. About 70 per cent of the 521 cases heard last year were resolved. "Mediation is an important process as both parties agree on a solution, so there is ownership and responsibility to follow through. It also helps to preserve and mend relationships, so that neighbours can continue living harmoniously alongside each other." read

  • How to conduct a Peer Mediation program in your school

    This article includes a seven-page script revealing the step-by-step process of any given Peer Mediation session. The final page of this PDF file is a copy of the Peer Mediation Contract. read

  • Bishop Eddie Long Agrees to Mediation

    With little fanfare or news coverage, the four sexual coercion lawsuits confronting Bishop Eddie Long had the first hearing recently, with both sides opting for mediation to avoid a trial. Why no major news outlet or editorial columnist has discussed the implications of such a move is nothing less than egregious in nature. Despite the initial media crush and coverage and the incessant analysis of Bishop Long's statement on his website and "sermon," there's been nary a peep in response to the quest for mediation. read

  • Kampala: All civil disputes set for mediation- judiciary

    The Uganda Judiciary has announced plans to enhance mediation as a leading strategy to deal with all civil disputes filed in courts in order to fight case backlog. Speaking at the opening of a weeklong training of judicial officers in Kampala yesterday, acting Chief Justice Steven Kavuma said the initiative will tremendously reduce case backlog as well as improve public confidence in the Judiciary. “Resolution of disputes is faster. The parties design their own solutions rather than have one impose upon them and a win-win situation is created. Reconciliation, which is a cardinal principle in our Constitutional dispute resolution process, is therefore achieved,” Justice Kavuma said. read

  • Tips for a successful mediation

    Employment lawyers don’t spend all their time in court, or acting as counsel to employers and employees. We also enjoy the opportunity to take on the role of an objective third party whose goal is to assist in dispute resolution. This blog post contains a series of tips on how parties should approach mediation, written based upon my attendance at hundreds of mediation hearings as counsel for the employee, counsel for the employer and as mediator. read

  • Ex-NFL player's suit against Cleveland's 'jock tax' sent to mediation by Ohio Supreme Court

    A dispute over the constitutionality of Cleveland’s unique way of taxing visiting professional athletes has been referred to mediation, the Ohio Supreme Court announced Tuesday. In the lawsuit, former Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday and his wife Karen allege that Cleveland unfairly charges visiting players higher municipal income taxes than other out-of-town workers. read

  • Mediation Perspectives: Engaging Religion

    How can policymakers and conflict mediation practitioners effectively engage with religion? Indeed, how can practitioners mainstream such engagement with religious actors and organizations? And, what do we even mean when we ask these questions? These were just some of the questions posed at Religion, Foreign Policy and Development: Making Better Policy to Make a Bigger Difference a recent conference held at the UK Foreign Office’s Wilton Park that brought together policymakers, academics and practitioners for two days of wide-ranging and intense discussions. read

  • How to Talk and Listen to Iran

    Current negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program in Geneva have raised hopes that there may be rapprochement between Iran and the West. This recalls an earlier potential 'thaw' in U.S.-Iran relations on January 7, 1998 when some U.S. officials reacted to the then Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's call for better relations between the United States and Iran in an interview with CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour. But American analysts have apparently not learned from that event. The 'thaw' failed, largely because the Americans at that time focused narrowly on what they mistakenly thought to be the substance of President Khatami's pronouncements, namely that Iran was willing to capitulate to a whole list of American demands for 'better behaviour'. In so doing, they missed the real message that Khatami wished to send. His was a message outlining how rapprochement could proceed in terms of salutary communication dynamics between the two nations. The United States has largely repeated these misunderstandings in cross-cultural communication in the current negotiations, making them exceptionally difficult. read

  • Summit County Probate Court develops mediation program

    When Summit County Probate Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer took office in January 2013, she declared her intention to use mediation as one means of resolving disputes brought to her court. Judge Stormer developed a mediation program, and longtime Akron attorneys William Dowling and Douglas Godshall were appointed as court mediators. Concluding its first year of operation, the mediation program has proven to be a success, enabling the parties involved to resolve numerous disputes without the need for lengthy litigation and court trials. read

  • Rachel Canning, 18, sues parents, judge orders mediation

    A northern New Jersey honor student who has sued to get her parents to support her after she moved out of their home had her initial request denied Tuesday by a judge who cautioned that the case could lead to a 'potentially slippery slope' of claims by teenagers against their parents. Rachel Canning had sought immediate relief in the form of $650 in weekly child support and the payment of the remainder of her tuition at Morris Catholic High School, as well as attorney's fees. State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard denied those motions but ordered the parties to return to court on April 22, when they will present evidence and testimony on the over-arching question of whether the Cannings are obligated to financially support their daughter. Rachel Canning, a high school senior, has already been accepted by at least one college and is seeking to have her parents pay some or all of her tuition, attorney Tanya Helfand told Bogaard Tuesday.  read

  • Horace Mann and insurance companies ordered to begin mediation over $1.2 million sex abuse settlements

    The tony Bronx prep school sued its insurance carriers, which are subsidiaries of AIG, to cover the costs of its sex abuse settlements. The companies have refused because they claim they were kept in the dark for decades on the allegations. Horace Mann and its insurance companies were ordered to begin mediation on Thursday on the school’s suit to force the carriers to cover the costs of its sex abuse settlements. read

  • Recognizing Religion in Conflict

    Najeeba Syeed-Miller, an internationally recognized author and assistant professor of interreligious education at Claremont School of Theology, gave a talk about religious conflict and mediation at the MultiCultural Center Theater yesterday. Titled “Interfaith Peacemaking: Healing the World,” the talk highlighted the importance of understanding religion’s role in conflict escalation and resolution, as well as the consequences of ignoring this role. Miller’s work focuses on resolving a number of complex religious and cultural conflicts in the Middle East, and she has intervened in disputes between urban gangs in Southern California. Her efforts have garnered a Southern California Mediation Association’s “Peacemaker of the Year” Award in 2007, and in 2008, she received the California State Legislature Women in Law Award for her work to reduce conflict worldwide.  read

  • Suspensions plummet with peer mediation, but at this school, it’s just another program that’s going away

    In May 2011, Mt. Diablo High School in Concord, CA, hired social worker Deonne Wesley to coordinate a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Safe and Supportive Schools program. Wesley trained 18 students to be peer mediators to work with. The good news: The program is teaching kids how to change their behavior so that they stop fighting. The peer mediators are becoming leaders. Some teachers are resolving conflicts with their students, which results in more teaching and more learning. The bad news: The grant runs out in 2014, at the end of this school year. Next school year, Mt. Diablo won’t have peer mediators or a drug counselor. read

  • Harwich beach battle heads to mediation

    Landowners at the end of Davis Lane want up to 400 feet of new beachfront declared as their own and the town and other parties are questioning that and want to make sure access and use of the beach is preserved.  “The message from Judge Sands was crystal clear. We’ve always called for getting together to try and work this out, even before the legal dispute ended up in court. I am looking forward to the mediation effort.” read

  • EU to urge mediation with Russia over Ukraine

    European Union foreign ministers will push on Monday for high-level mediation to resolve the crisis over Russia's invasion of Crimea, while threatening the possibility of sanctions if Russia does not back down. In emergency talks convened after Russian President Vladimir Putin seized the Crimean peninsula and said he had the right to invade Ukraine, ministers will try to strike a balance between pressure on Moscow and finding a way to calm the situation. Germany, France and Britain, the EU's most-powerful nations, are all advocating mediation, possibly via the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, while not ruling out economic measures if Moscow does not cooperate. read

  • Breach of Confidential Settlement? Girl costs father $80,000 with 'SUCK IT' Facebook post

    The former head of a private preparatory school in Miami, Florida is out an $80,000 discrimination settlement after his daughter boasted about it on Facebook. Patrick Snay, 69 -- the former head of Guillver Preparatory School -- filed an age discrimination complaint when his 2010-11 contract wasn't renewed. In November 2011, the school and Snay came to an agreement in which Snay would be paid $10,000 in back pay, and an $80,000 settlement. Gulliver Schools also agreed to cut Snay's attorneys a check for $60,000. But before the ink could dry on the deal, Snay's daughter took to Facebook, boasting, "Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver. Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT."  read

  • Older Americans' Breakups Are Causing A 'Graying' Divorce Trend

    For baby boomers, divorce has almost become, like marriage, another rite of passage. The post-World War II generation is setting new records for divorce: Americans over 50 are twice as likely to get divorced as people of that age were 20 years ago. But just because it's more common, doesn't mean it's not still painful. read

  • ATO turns to mediation to avoid costly court battles

    THE Australian Taxation Office is stepping up its push to avoid costly court actions with big businesses and wealthy people. The ATO has told a landmark Productivity Commission review that it is increasingly using alternative dispute resolution -- which uses methods such as mediation by retired High Court and Federal Court judges to avoid resorting to litigation -- in the early stages of tax disputes considered to be "high risk" involving large businesses, high net-worth individuals and their private groups. read

  • Plaintiffs Agree to Mediation in Mentally Ill Inmate Case

    Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the state's prison system over the treatment of mentally ill inmates are agreeing to mediate solutions to the issue while also allowing the litigation to continue. Mediation could ultimately save legal costs because it could work out solutions and end the litigation —which has been ongoing since 2005 — sooner, said Sen. Mike Fair of Greenville, chairman of the Senate Corrections Committee. "I'm glad mediation is going forward," Fair toldThe Greenville News. "I think everybody wins because of that. I choose to believe that the litigation will end more quickly because they're having the mediation." read

  • Why You Should Opt Out Of Forced Arbitration, In 3 Sentences

    While more and more companies are adding “forced arbitration” clauses to their terms of service, only a handful of these businesses are offering customers the choice to opt out of this part of the contract. Here are the reasons why you should take advantage of that option whenever possible. read

  • Carter offers mediation to fractured Venezuela

    Former president Jimmy Carter plans a peace-making visit to Venezuela, he said this week to leaders of opposing sides in the South American country’s latest political unrest. In letters to President Nicolas Maduro and political opponent Henrique Capriles, whom Maduro narrowly defeated for the office in 2013, Carter requested private meeting in April when he’s scheduled to visit Venezuela for promotion of a health program, according to the Associated Press. read

  • Traits shared by effective mediators

    The most consistently effective mediators have shared these qualities: (1) They established and then maintained credibility throughout the entire negotiation. They provided a foundation for their statements and avoided exaggeration. When they said they would do something during the negotiation, they did it. (2) They spoke persuasively and calmly. They listened attentively and acknowledged valid points that did not threaten their case. They asked information-seeking questions as well as rhetorical ones.  (3) They used time efficiently when working against a deadline. They initially tried to get deals as favorable as possible, but moved to more realistic demands and offers with enough time on the clock to do the harder endgame negotiating. read

February 2014

  • Adults could learn plenty from student mediators

    Conflict is inevitable in high schools — or just about any place where hundreds of teenagers gather, each bringing their own personality, background and beliefs. The need to manage that conflict also is inevitable because some students lack the maturity they need to resolve their differences in a civil manner. Mayo High School takes this need seriously and has trained mediators who can intervene before disputes get out of hand. The remarkable thing is that the sessions are led by fellow students who conduct 300 to 400 conflict mediation sessions a year. It's an amazing success story, and it didn't happen by accident. read

  • Court refers private police records case to mediation

    A student journalist’s bid to force a private university to open its police records to public scrutiny was referred to mediation today by the Ohio Supreme Court. Anna Schiffbauer, news editor of, a student-run news website, filed a mandamus action last week asking the justices to force Otterbein University to comply with public records laws.  read

  • Four Tricks That Make Mediation Work

    If your business finds itself engaged in litigation, chances are that the dispute will be resolved in a conference room rather than a courtroom. Most lawsuits settle before judgment, and increasingly litigants are turning to mediation—negotiation assisted by a third-party facilitator —to resolve their disputes. They hope mediation will be faster and cheaper than litigation and yield a better result. But the potential benefits of such alternative dispute resolution are often undermined by the participants entering the process with the same litigation-oriented, adversarial mindset they meant to leave behind. Here are four counterintuitive strategies that harness the strengths of mediation rather than treating it as litigation light. They may not be traditional, but properly employed, they work. read

  • Crist: Mediation can help parents, teens solve problems

    There is a lot more that goes into mediation, but this is a good overview to the framework. People need to understand before entering mediation that it is a process of compromise — meeting each other in the middle somewhere. If either party has to have everything that he or she wants at mediation, it will likely not work.  read

  • Denver Comic Con and Save Denver Comic Con agree to mediation

    A town hall meeting scheduled for Sunday by the organization Save Denver Comic Con, which was started by Denver Comic Con co-founder Charlie LaGreca, was postponed after both sides in the ongoing dispute agreed to mediation. Save Denver Comic Con released a statement Sunday morning on its website and Facebook page announcing the mediation. "Charlie La Greca and Comic Book Classroom have both come to an agreement to re-enter into a mediation process to address the current situation. Each party fully expects to communicate truthfully with the intention of supporting CBC’s mission and community."  In an open letter released to The Denver Post last week, LaGreca made claims he was ousted with no explanation from DCC and its parent nonprofit, Comic Book Classroom, and he demanded a financial investigation of the organization. He launched Save Denver Comic Con as a platform to share his concerns with the public. Denver Comic Con responded with a statement of their own denying LaGreca’s allegations. read

  • Sudan to mediate Egypt-Ethiopia dam talks

    Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is waiting for the winner of Egypt's upcoming presidential polls to launch a mediation initiative aimed at bridging the gap between Egypt and Ethiopia regarding the latter's Nile dam project, a diplomatic source said Friday. "Sudan will play a role clearing the air and mitigating the tensions" between the two countries over Ethiopia's hydroelectric dam project, the source – who serves in the African Union and asked to remain anonymous – told Anadolu Agency. read

  • HOA Hires Mediator to Deal with Military Welcome Banner

    A welcome home sign for an Acadiana sailor is still unwelcomed in one Lafayette neighborhood and the story is sparking other veterans to take action. As we reported a Lafayette family in the Frenchman's Creek subdivision took down a banner after a letter was sent from an attorney representing their homeowner's association.The letter stated they had 30 days to take the sign down with little explanation as to why. Now, the association has hired a legal mediator to address the situation. read

  • International Mediation – The New Libel Tourism?

    U.S. celebs, increasingly drawn to the UK courts by its tougher libel laws, will find a new emphasis on mediation to settle media disputes.  With increasing pressure from the British Government and Judiciary for a reduction in escalating legal costs, it will be interesting to see whether these increasing calls for mediation as an alternative to litigation will be adhered to, particularly following on from the recent European Directive, which is intended to encourage alternative dispute resolution (ADR) across the board in all European states. read

  • New Dutch bill aims to encourage mediation

    The use of mediation for the resolution of disputes is becoming increasingly popular and many governments, including the Dutch government, are encouraging its use. However, until fairly recently, Dutch law contained no specific mediation provisions. This changed with the implementation of the EU Mediation Directive (2008/52/EC). In addition to the implementation of the directive, three draft bills that aim to further embed and codify mediation as an alternative to traditional judicial procedures are pending in Parliament. This update outlines the purposes of the law implementing the directive and the three draft bills. It then focuses on the changes that the bill concerning civil and commercial matters may bring about if enacted, noting both the positive and the possibly negative consequences for (cross-border) disputes in the Netherlands. read

  • Q&A: What Is a Bankruptcy Mediator's Role

    Federal Judge Gerald Rosen, the chief mediator in Detroit’s bankruptcy case, has a big job: overseeing tense negotiations with diverse creditor groups working to boost their individual recoveries in the Motor City’s historic Chapter 9 case. The Wall Street Journal profiled Judge Rosen, who’s been praised by some for his innovative approach and criticized by others for taking on what they consider an inappropriate advocacy role. MoneyBeat connected with other bankruptcy mediators who’ve worked on Chapter 9 cases to discuss the mediator’s role, how the process works and why it may differ from corporate bankruptcy cases. read

  • Medical disputes pushed to arbitration

    A new regulation will require public medical institutions to inform patients that they have the option to settle their medical disputes through arbitration if the case involves a claim of more than 30,000 yuan ($4,938). The regulation, which goes into effect next month, is one of several new rules that aim to steer more aggrieved patients to the city's medical arbitration system, rather than letting their complaints pile up at local hospitals, said Li Heping, vice director of the Shanghai Medical Dispute People's Arbitration Office. "There have been a lot of unsolved disputes accumulating at public hospitals. We want to push more of them into medical arbitration by informing more families about the system," Li said. Patients in about 75 percent of medical dispute cases have demanded more than 30,000 yuan in compensation, Li said. The medical arbitration system began in 2006 as a pilot program in several districts, but it received few cases until it was instituted citywide in 2011. Last year, local medical arbitration offices dealt with 3,087 cases and resolved about 80 percent of them. read

  • Legal Aid Ontario pilots independent legal advice for mediation clients

    Under a new pilot aimed at reducing unrepresented family litigants and improving outcomes, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) will cover the cost of a family lawyer to support clients who choose mediation and to transform those agreements into legally-binding documents. "In looking at expanding access to justice for low-income Ontarians, mediation is a good alternative to having a judge or a third party step in to resolve family relationship issues," says John McCamus, Chair of LAO. "This voluntary process empowers people to resolve their family legal issues for themselves - and with this pilot, they can be assured that the end result is legally binding." read

  • Puppy's death: Mediation brings saga to an end

    It took a 12-hour mediation session last week to finally bring closure to a five-month saga over whether Tammy the puppy should have been put to sleep. Both sides - the woman who adopted the seven-month-old mongrel before euthanising it and the animal welfare volunteer who found it a home - agreed that re-homing the animal would have been a better option. The saga first made waves when the volunteer, Ms Ada Ong, posted Tammy's story on Facebook on Oct 11 last year, four days after the dog was put down at a clinic in Clementi. read

  • Legal Eye: how to lessen the impact of divorce on children

    It's not news that divorce and the legal process of separation have a negative impact on children. In recent years, as this has become more apparent, courts and governments in many parts of the world have attempted to minimise the knock-on effects for youngsters. In Hong Kong, the welfare and best interest of the children in divorce is of paramount importance. This is enshrined in statute and is where judges will start when they look at a divorce case involving children. It is also a fact that if conflict in a case can be minimised, the impact on the parties and the children will also be reduced. This has led to an increase in mediation - both outside the court process and within it - and the newer concept of collaborative practice. Initially, both mediation and collaborative practice focus on what can be agreed between the parties. The problem with traditional litigation is that it tends to focus the minds of the parties on what they do not agree on and consequently each takes a position. It is a different mindset. read

  • Can we talk?

    Thinking of suing that firm that did you wrong as a customer or that vendor for poor quality merchandise? Try mediation or arbitration instead. The two methods are among remedies collectively known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Business owners who turn to ADR save time, money and maybe the business relationship that’s in question. “ADR is a cost containment mechanism. Cases move faster and that saves money,” says Bill Nolan, managing partner at Barnes & Thornburg. read

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