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February 2014

2/02
  • Man In Road Rage Case Has Case Sent To Mediation

    The Indiana doctor charged in a road rage incident in Madison County had his case referred to mediation. Doctor Perrin Dobyns is facing a felony a charge of first degree wanton endangerment. He was caught on cell phone video pointing a gun at a driver during an alleged road rage incident on Interstate-75 last October. His attorney said he had a BB gun. read



  • U of L seeks mediation in battle with Norton Healthcare

    The University of Louisville this week filed a response to legal proceedings in its ongoing fight with Norton Healthcare over access to Kosair Children’s Hospital and its revenue and is seeking court-ordered mediation. Dr. David Dunn, executive vice president for health affairs at UofL, said in a statement that the motion for mediation was “to head off costly litigation so that precious resources are spent on sick kids instead of lawyers.” read



  • A Manhattan Experiment in Mandatory Mediation

    New York City’s legal world is a place of struggle and flight, where armies of smart — and occasionally ignorant — lawyers clash by day and night. But under a new pilot program proposed by the state’s court system, litigants otherwise headed to court for battle might be forced to first try to talk out their differences. That’s right: Mandatory mediation may soon be coming to Manhattan. The state’s court system is poised to launch a pilot program in Manhattan Supreme Court that would require that every fifth case assigned to judges in its commercial division go to mediation. The plan — first floated by a judicial task force in 2012 – could help lighten the caseload of a court system under tough budgetary pressure. The Manhattan Supreme Court carries a particularly heavy docket, especially within its commercial division. The task force found that mediation is “substantially underutilized in New York.” read



January 2014

1/30
  • DAs request mediation in grand jury petitioner's lawsuit

    A judge agreed Monday to delay a hearing in District Attorney Janice Steidley’s defamation lawsuit against six grand jury petitions, allowing for the parties to mediate. Steidley requested the postponement. If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the hearing to consider dismissal of the lawsuit will be rescheduled. Steidley and her top assistants sued the sponsors of the grand jury petition the day after Tulsa County District Judge Jefferson Sellers rejected it in mid-October 2013, due to petitioners use of unauthorized forms to gather 7,711 validated voter signatures. The prosecutors claimed the petitioners defamed them with false, malicious accusations of criminal acts and malfeasance in office. They are seeking more than a half-million dollars in damages. read



  • Mediation is next step for proposed subdivision

    Those for and against a proposed subdivision near the Shakespeare Festival have a few weeks to sort out their differences through mediation. The developer's plans call for 43 homes. The closest would be just 620 feet from the stage. "As the homes sell or even people just get tired of it, there are going to be a lot of complaints, and it's going to be a big mess," said Thomas Omstead of Boise, "and ultimately, I think they're going to have to close down that theater." Boise City Council members have been trying to find a compromise so that both can co-exist. They could make a decision to approve or deny the development on March 18. read



  • MBC, four agencies continue mediation talks, ask for prayer

    Although they continue to disagree on a solution, representatives of the Missouri Baptist Convention and four formerly affiliated agencies have agreed to continue to talk about an end to litigation, now in its 12th year. Meeting Jan. 14-16 in Columbia, organizational heads and attorneys presented their perspective on issues at the heart of legal action the MBC filed against the four — Windermere Baptist Conference Center, The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist University and the Missouri Baptist Foundation — and Word&Way. The news journal was later dropped from the litigation. The talks were “civil and conducted in a spirit of openness,” and each participant “expressed a desire to have a meaningful relationship...and to work together for the benefit of all Missouri Baptists,” the release said. read



  • Advocates: More Money Needed for Foreclosure Mediation

    Oregon's foreclosure rate is higher than the national average, according to a new financial scorecard. It gives the state a "D" for a housing market that is unaffordable for many and still pulling out of the mortgage crisis. Advocates for homeowners at risk say the low grade is no surprise, and they will soon ask the legislature for more funding for foreclosure mediation. Lenders in Oregon are now required to offer alternatives to keep people from losing their homes. Emily Reiman, Opportunity Works manager for NEDCO, a nonprofit neighborhood development group, says homeowners are lining up since the Foreclosure Avoidance Program went into effect in August. read



1/29
  • Readington officials and Solberg Airport owners agree to mediation in long-standing condemnation fight

    Formal mediation between the township and the Solberg family is expected to start in early February, Mayor Julia Allen said today, Jan. 29. A mediator has been agreed upon, setting the process in motion for the first time since Readington voters in 2006 approved a $22 million bond ordinance, essentially requiring the township to either acquire the 625 open acres surrounding the airport and the development rights to about 100 acres used for airport operations, or to negotiate a settlement with the airport owners. read



  • Clarifying Arbitration vs. Mediation vs. Litigation

    Question: What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?
    Arbitration is a method of finally determining a dispute. The end result is an award which is similar to a Court Order in that it is final and binding upon the parties and can be enforced against the parties in the same way as a judgment of the Court. In an arbitration, a neutral third party – the arbitrator – hears the evidence and makes a decision as to who is right and who is wrong. In a mediation, on the other hand, the neutral third party – the mediator – makes no such determination, but rather focuses on trying to assist the parties to come to a negotiated mutually satisfactory settlement or compromise of the matters in dispute. Sometimes, the mediator is successful, in which case, the dispute is over. Sometimes the mediator is not successful, in which case the dispute continues on. ... read



  • East China Sea dispute is ripe for US mediation

    When the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe declared at Davos that his country’s conflict with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands shares similarities with the first world war (“End drift to war in the East China Sea”, editorial, January 24), he was basically reaching out to potential third parties for assistance in arresting the dynamics of a potentially hot conflict that neither he nor his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping can control. A conflict resolution theory associated with American political scientist I William Zartman may account for the timing of this bold challenge. Mr Abe may have come to believe that Japan’s territorial conflict with China is “ripe” for negotiation and mediation because it has developed into a “mutually hurting stalemate” where both parties realise they are in a potentially costly situation from which they cannot escape by traditional, power-based approaches, for example escalation. The parties may also feel that allowing the conflict to continue might lead to a catastrophic war through accident or miscalculation. read



1/27
  • Mediation for Architects 101

    Disputes happen; whether over assigning responsibility for mistakes or rectifying payment schedules, they’re a fact of life in the construction industry. But they need not lead to bitterness or lengthy and expensive court battles. Standard AIA contracts provide an easier means of solution, through mediation, which gives architects, clients, contractors, and their lawyers an opportunity to take a creative, cooperative approach to problem resolution. The outcome of a mediation can be quick and relatively painless; indeed, some mediations end in a “win/win” for everyone involved. read



  • Is family mediation in crisis? Cambridge mediators discuss

    There are rarely any winners when a family is dragged through the trauma of divorce. As well as the emotional strain, separation throws up a multitude of practical issues to be resolved – financial costs, child custody – and since April 2013, cuts to legal aid advice for family law appear to have made this unpleasant experience a little more unpleasant. The Government had initially hoped the cuts would encourage separating couples to seek out family mediation, for which legal aid is still available, rather than turning to the courtroom battlefield. But, despite the Government’s hopes for less clogged-up courts, new figures appear to show that the opposite is happening. Figures from a Freedom of Information request by London family mediator Marc Lopatin reveal that the number of people in Cambridge seeking family mediation fell by 47 per cent between April and October in 2013. The number of family mediations getting under way in the Cambridge area also fell by a third compared to the same period in 2012/13. read



  • Syria War Foes Meet Face-to-Face With UN Mediator Brahimi

    Syria’s government and opposition sat at the same U-shaped table today for their first face-to-face meeting at peace talks mediated by the United Nations. The meeting, which began at 10 a.m. Geneva time, lasted less than an hour and will be followed by another this afternoon, Rafif Jouejati, an opposition spokeswoman, said by phone. Each delegation was addressed by Lakhdar Brahimi, the Algerian official who leads the UN mediation effort, Jouejati said. There was no handshaking or any interaction between the two groups, she added. read



  • Mediation Opening Statements: You Gotta Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Fold 'Em

    In most insurance coverage disputes, the parties arrive at mediation fully aware of the other side’s position. An insured makes its position known when it submits the claim or during the claim adjustment, and an insurer presents its position when it either accepts or denies coverage. Odds are, there will be no “smoking gun” document waived around at mediation—no “ah-ha” Perry Mason moment. Typically, the mediation opens with both sides showing their best photos of the loss or damage, an estimate, and maybe an expert report or two. After this big production, the parties split to their respective conference rooms. A common scenario to follow typically involves an initial demand from the insured for millions of dollars and an initial settlement offer from the carrier in the range of $10,000. This kind of scenario, involving seemingly-meaningless presentations (because they are often followed by essentially the same response regardless of the strength of the parties’ respective positions) raises the following questions discussed below. read



  • Medical Liability: Early Discussion and Resolution in Oregon

    This spring, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 483 creating Early Discussion and Resolution—an innovative approach to medical liability reform. Early Discussion and Resolution is a confidential, voluntary and structured process for healthcare providers and patients to notify, discuss, and (if necessary) mediate serious adverse events as an alternative to litigation. Early Discussion and Resolution (EDR) is a voluntary process that creates a safe space for patients and their families to have an open conversation with healthcare facilities and/or providers when a patient unexpectedly experiences serious physical injury or death as a result of their medical care rather than their illness. EDR is a patient-centered approach to care after harm that gives healthcare facilities and providers a way to continue caring for patients and their families, to learn from undesired outcomes, and to prevent harm to patients in the future. Oregon’s Early Discussion and Resolution process will be operational on July 1, 2014. At that time, a patient, healthcare facility, or provider (if the event occurs outside of a healthcare facility) will be able to file a notice of adverse healthcare incident with the Oregon Patient Safety Commission to initiate the Early Discussion and Resolution process. read



  • Study: People prefer mediation in civil cases

    People involved in civil lawsuits prefer mediation to nonbinding arbitration and like judge trials better than jury trials, a new study by a University of California Davis law professor concludes. Overall, litigants like mediation, trials before judges and negotiations that include participants along with their attorneys more than all other forms of alternative dispute resolution, the study by Donna Shestowsky shows. The findings could help courts struggling to deliver civil justice in the face of budget cuts decide what kind of alternative dispute resolutions programs to offer. read



1/24
  • Platinum sector set for mediation talks

    The union behind a mass strike at South Africa’s top three platinum mines has agreed to state mediation. Joseph Mathunjwa, head of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), said the union “will be part of the negotiations” tentatively set for January 24.  “It’s a mediation meeting between the unions and the mine owners,” Labour Ministry spokesman Musa Zondi said. The mining bosses have long been ready for any talks that could end the unrest in the key mining sector. But Amcu said it wanted clearance from its members to join the talks, which it secured at a rally in Marikana yesterday. Up to 80000 platinum mine workers downed tools demanding that entry-level wages be more than doubled. read



  • Court Sends United Healthcare and Physicians to Mediation

    A federal appeals court in New York City this week directed United Healthcare and 2 county medical societies in Connecticut to try settling a lawsuit filed by the societies after the insurer dropped thousands of physicians there from its Medicare Advantage network last year. The ultimate resolution of the case could affect physicians in other states who have been cut loose by United Healthcare in a cost-cutting move. read



  • Mediation sought in murder case

    Court officials are seeking mediation in cases involving a Blackfoot man charged with murder, according to court reports. Adan Arroyo is facing a first-degree murder charge as well as a weapon enhancement charge for his alleged role in the shooting death of 21-year-old Idaho Falls resident Kristy M. Aschliman. In a separate case, Arroyo is also facing a felony charge for having major contraband in a correctional facility. Orders for mediation have been issued in both cases, according to court records, which add that status conferences have been planned for April 9. Mediation can give prosecutors and defense attorneys a chance to resolve the case before trial. read



  • Exploring the role of mediation in a small business

    It is often not until the final bill has been picked up from the courts that those involved appreciate the cost of not mediating. Some disputes involve ongoing relationships which will have to continue long after the formalities and have many implications for effective working/productivity, etc. Good mediation looks to that reality and factors this into the process. read



1/21
  • The Success of the SDNY Mediation Program

    The Mediation Program of the SDNY provides litigants in commercial litigation with an opportunity, generally early in their litigation, to resolve their disputes without going through the expense of full-blown discovery and the uncertainty of trial. As reflected in the Mediation Program's recently released Annual Report , individual judges referred 113 cases in general civil litigation (which does not include employment and civil rights claims). Of that number, a successful resolution in mediation came about in 60% of the cases referred, an increase from 53% in 2012. Considering the determination with which business disputes are litigated, a 60% successful rate is a remarkable achievement. read



  • Mandatory Mediation For Every Fifth Case In New York County’s Commercial Division?

    The Commercial Division Advisory Council has proposed that the court adopt a pilot program for New York County's Commercial Division that would send every fifth newly assigned case to mediation unless the parties stipulate otherwise or one party makes a good cause showing that mediation would be ineffective or unjust. A copy of the proposal is available here. The pilot program is described as "fairly conservative" and flexible in the December 11, 2013 proposal. The program is purportedly conservative because it only mandates that one of every five cases be sent to mediation. If adopted, the program allegedly will be flexible because it (a) allows the parties to opt-out or attempt to do so and (b) would permit the parties to select their own mediator (or request one from the neutrals roster). The proposal would, however, require completion of mediation within 180 days from the assignment of the case to a Commercial Division Justice. read



1/20
  • Silence Is Not Golden: The Price Of Ignoring ADR Requests

    In PGF, the Court of Appeal adopted a 'modest extension' of the principles set out in Halsey v Milton Keynes General NHS Trust1 relating to the costs consequences of an unreasonable refusal to engage in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). PGF sends out a clear message as to the court's views on ADR as a method of resolving disputes which the court fully endorses and will seek to encourage parties to utilise, including with recourse to costs orders. Following PGF, it is likely that a failure to respond to, or engage with, a party's ADR proposal will be held to be an unreasonable refusal to mediate which may be punished when it comes to costs.   read



  • Malpractice Reform Requires Qualified Mediators

    The state could have a shortage of mediators on hand in July as the Oregon Patient Safety Commission launches Oregon’s innovative plan to resolve medical errors without lawsuits. A pair of malpractice mediators told a commission task force Tuesday that the state has only six to 12 people in all of Oregon who are currently practiced enough to meet the criteria that will get them on a state list of recommended mediators for the early discussion and resolution program. Without a resolution process in place, there are few mediators who have dealt specifically with medical malpractice. But safety commission director Bethany Walmsley told The Lund Report that the state will be able to get around this conundrum by employing professionals who are skilled in the process of mediation, if not as intimately experienced in aspects of medical malpractice. "There are plenty of [mediators] out there who will have that process piece," Walmsley said. read



  • Be a mediator, lead the way to peace

    Peace doesn’t just happen. The Dali Lama said, “Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” We have to work at it. There are skills and techniques that people can learn to help their lives become more peaceful, and if we don’t have the time to learn them right now, we can find someone who knows them and learn from them or hire them to help me out. read



  • UK: Courts becoming clogged as legal aid cuts affect separating couples seeking mediation

    Separating couples are being cut adrift by changes to legal aid, experts say, as the numbers accessing publicly funded mediation or family lawyers have fallen dramatically.Despite Government insistence that it is championing mediation over court-fought divorces, the number of couples starting state funded mediation fell by a third between April to September 2012 and the same period in 2013, to 4,692. While publicly broadcasting its increase in the legal aid budget for mediation, the Government has, at the same time, considerably tightened the criteria for accessing legal aid for it. This has resulted in a dramatic reduction in those funded to use it and millions of pounds in unspent budget. Many couples are left clogging up the courts as litigants in person or trying to find their own solution without guidance, according to experts. read



  • Discovered: How people want to resolve their lawsuits

    People involved in civil lawsuits prefer mediation to nonbinding arbitration and like judge trials more than jury trials, according to a new study by a University of California, Davis, law professor.  The findings could help court systems design future generations of court-connected alternative dispute resolution programs by providing guidance on which procedures litigants find more appealing, the university says. Alternative dispute resolution programs offer procedures that are alternatives to trial; mediation and nonbinding arbitration are common forms of ADR. "The clear overall preference that litigants expressed for mediation over nonbinding arbitration has important implications for courts that want to draw litigants into their voluntary ADR programs, especially if they offer only one ADR procedure," says Donna Shestowsky, who teaches negotiation strategy, alternative dispute resolution and legal psychology. "This finding helps to resolve a long-standing debate over which of the two procedures litigants prefer." read



1/16
  • Ireland: Want To Arbitrate? Be Proactive

    Perhaps the most attractive feature of arbitration is its flexibility. Efficient and cost-effective arbitration is possible if the right questions are addressed up front. For example: Do we need discovery? Do we need to oblige the parties to seek to mediate before moving to arbitration? Do we need a reasoned award? The Irish Courts have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to uphold arbitration clauses. Recent case law indicates that parties wishing to arbitrate must: (1) ensure that all relevant contracts clearly provide for arbitration, (2) avoid delay and (3) avail of the opportunity to engage fully in the process. read



  • Belgium Strengthens Position On International Arbitration Stage

    Belgium makes headway in its plans to become an attractive forum for domestic and international arbitration. The new Belgian Arbitration Act, based on the UNCITRAL Model Law, has entered into force and CEPANI, the Belgian arbitration institute, has issued new arbitration rules. With the new Belgian Arbitration Act's entry into force, Belgium joins 66 other countries that have arbitration legislation based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration. By modernising and aligning its Arbitration Act with international arbitration practice, Belgium hopes to establish itself as an attractive forum for international arbitration. read



  • Singapore: Becoming More Attractive For International Arbitration

    With the newly issued SIAC Arbitration Rules, Singapore further strengthens its position as a preferred venue for international arbitration in Asia. The newly issued Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) include a number of significant changes affecting the arbitration process. These changes are highlighted below. read



1/13
  • 10 Cornerstones of Mediation Advocacy - Part 2

    In part 1 of this series, we introduced five qualities commonly possessed by attorneys who are successful as advocates in the mediation process. We simultaneously identified ways attorneys can unknowingly sabotage the same process. Here, we expound upon that framework with a candid discussion about what helps and hinders dispute resolution. read



  • New accreditation regs for B.C. family law mediation

    Family law continues to evolve in British Columbia with new regulations providing for accreditation for those who wish to provide services in alternative dispute resolution. Among the ways people can work as family mediators, arbitrators, or parenting co-ordinators is through organizations such as the Law Society of British Columbia or Mediate BC. Kari Boyle, executive director of Mediate BC, says the regulations under the new Family Law Act that took effect Jan. 1, have significantly altered the field of family dispute resolution in the province as they give “the public a safe place to find mediators if they want.” “The act is clearly sending a message that families should first opt to try some of the out-of-court solutions,” she says. read



  • Lessons Learned From Failed Divorce Mediation

    As the new year begins, I reflect on a failed mediation, wondering what I could have done differently to prevent the unfortunate impasse. Was there something I missed? Or, was this particular couple predestined to litigate their divorce? I retraced the steps from our initial meeting until the moment it became abundantly clear that our meetings were becoming fruitless, and worse, serving only to frustrate the progress. Rewind the clock to January 2013: a handsome couple walks into my office, smiling and proclaiming their desire to amicably go their separate ways. They floated above those "other people who divorce," trying to convince me that they would be agreeable on most issues. "We won't be fighting over the kids... he's fantastic with them." "She's not interested in material things... we're just going to split most of our stuff down the middle." "He's an amazing father." "She's an awesome mother." It was a love fest, for sure, and I was (naively) anticipating a relatively stress-free mediation. read



  • Apple-Samsung mediation talks: Don't hold your breath

    A big patent infringement trial is looming. The issues are complex; the docket is jammed. The judge orders the two sides to submit a proposal for mediation. The principals -- the CEOs of Apple (AAPL) and Samsung -- set dates. The press excitedly reports them. That was in April 2012. The talks, not surprisingly, went nowhere. The case went to trial. Now it's January 2014, and it's deja vu all over again. read



  • The EEOC Mediator Said What?

    Colorado-based attorney Merrily Archer explains why she launched a national survey asking employers whether mediators in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs made certain comments and statements during the mediation process. She said that some EEOC mediators have overstated the risk of enforcement to clients to "scare" them into monetary settlement, despite the charge merits. The former EEOC trial attorney wondered whether other employers had faced similar tactics, so she created a survey asking participates to recall whether the mediator made certain statements or comments during the mediation process. read



1/12
  • NJ's Sandy Claims Mediation Program Recovered $3.42M Since May

    New Jersey’s mediation program to assist residents with unresolved insurance claims related to Superstorm Sandy has recovered $3.42 million for consumers since the program was launched last May, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration announced on Jan 10. To date, New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance has received 764 requests for mediation and 521 mediations have been completed. Of the 521 mediations completed, 347, or 67 percent, have been settled with 57 percent of them in Ocean and Monmouth Counties. The program has handled cases in all of the state’s 21 counties. The average recovery for consumers is $16,015. read



  • IGAD makes major progress in South Sudan mediation talks

    The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediation team on the South Sudan crisis has made major progress on the issue of cessation of hostilities as both the government and the detainees have committed to unconditional negotiations on the same. According to a statement released on Wednesday night by the IGAD, Special Envoys led by their chairperson Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin met President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the detainees in Juba on conclusion of their two day mission. read



  • Cleric Offers Mediation Role to Resolve Political Crisis

    A leading cleric is calling on government and opposition to put country first in a bid to ease rising political tensions in St Kitts and Nevis. Arch Deacon Valentine Hodge of the Anglican Church believes that compromise on the part of both sides will help address what’s becoming an increasingly polarized situation. The Deputy Chairman of the Christian Council, the archdeacon is volunteering the services of the Council and the Evangelical Association as part of efforts to help resolve the existing impasse. It’s an impasse created by the non-tabling of the motion of no confidence and the tensions arising from last weekend’s opposition protests and two cases of suspected arson on Sunday, in which the Venezuelan Embassy building was destroyed. read



1/09
  • Justice minister supports government plans for mandatory mediation

    Separating couples involved in property or child disputes should speak to mediators before going to court, says Simon Hughes.  The new justice minister, Simon Hughes, whose departmental responsibilities include family law, has backed government plans to make mediation mandatory for separating couples. The requirement – ensuring that those involved in disputes about property or agreeing child contact times speak to professional mediators before going to court – is contained in the children and families bill. It is expected to come into force in April. read



  • 10 Cornerstones of Effective Mediation Advocacy - Part 1

    As advocates for their clients, attorneys must pay as close attention to every detail pertaining to the mediation process as they would to each element of trial preparation. Other parties closely observe everything that attorneys and their clients do—or fail to do—during mediation, meaning that everything counts. For many years, disputing parties had their cases adjudicated through the civilized warfare of trials; however, over the last 25 years, lawyers have spent considerably less time in the courtroom and much more time in the conference room. This reduction in courtroom time has helped attorneys to reduce their clients’ transaction costs, maximize net returns, and minimize risk and potential exposure by settling disputes at mediation.  read



  • Netherlands: To Mediate Or Not To Mediate?

    Mediation – the structured process in which a third party is asked to help parties reach agreement – is well established as one of the standard forms of alternative dispute resolution. Although mediation as a means to resolve disputes is known to most lawyers - both to in-house and external counsel - it is very often not considered. Negotiations are habitually conducted with one of the parties having already threatened to litigate or start arbitration should negotiations fail. And when negotiations indeed turn sour, it is only logical to file the writ of summons or request arbitration. However, when devising a dispute resolution strategy, it is best practice to always consider mediation, especially if the parties have on-going relations. read



1/06
  • Snapshot of Wisconsin Farm Center's Mediation Program

    John Dupuis has a background in art. He really enjoys a photography technique called negative sandwiching where you put several pictures together to make an alternative image. Dupuis' work at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) in the mediation program is much the same. He brings together two different parties to make an alternative conclusion that is hopefully a positive one. The mediation program assists farmers, their creditors and various U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies to address loan problems, adverse decisions and other disputes. Wisconsin's mediation program began in 1989 to help negotiate challenging situations before turning to litigation. Examples of cases needing mediation could be an adverse determination by USDA for a wetlands violation, loan denial, loan acceleration or conservation violation. read



  • 5 Ways That Divorce Mediation Can Help Resolve the 'Get' Crisis

    Leah was still chained to her ex-husband: two years after the civil court granted her a divorce. Her ex-husband Dovid, a devote orthodox Jew, still refused to give her a religious divorce called a "get." Without the religious divorce, Leah would not be able to remarry -- or even date -- in her community. Her life was on hold, tied to her ex -- at his whim. And she is not alone.  read



December 2013

12/26
  • Singapore: More choosing mediation over court

    More people here are turning to mediation in place of lawsuits to solve disputes, because it saves them time and hefty legal costs, and gives them a say in the outcome. In eight years, mediation figures have jumped fourfold to about 200 cases this year at the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC), which deals with many of the bigger cases. "We have been intensifying our efforts to promote mediation to lawyers and companies, and persuading people to use mediation as a first resort," said the centre's executive director, Mr Loong Seng Onn. During mediation, a neutral person works with the feuding parties to resolve their differences. The people involved make their own decisions, usually with the help of their lawyers, and cases are often resolved within a day. Three in four of its cases are settled amicably this way, said the centre. read



  • South Sudan mediation talks begin without Machar rebels

    South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has begun crisis talks with fellow African leaders aimed at averting a possible civil war. China, which has significant oil interests in the country, has said it will send an envoy.vvKenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn were in the South Sudanese capital Juba on Thursday to attempt to mediate in the conflict. Hundreds of people have been killed since last week, when a growing power struggle between President Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar, turned violent. read



  • Dayton Mediation Center In A Growth Spurt

    Disagreements with neighbors or spouses can be ugly, and they can also be costly for the people and institutions involved. The Dayton Mediation Center has been working for 27 years to stem the social and fiscal costs of conflict by addressing it at its root, using volunteer mediators. The center works closely with neighborhood groups and the Montgomery County juvenile court to take on cases that might otherwise go through police, or result in either criminal charges or expensive litigation. These days, the Dayton Mediation Center is in a growth spurt. It has recently been hired to help the state of Ohio establish a statewide conflict management system for employees, and the center has expanded to start serving Montgomery County’s suburbs as well as the city of Dayton. In the Montgomery County juvenile court, mediators are starting to help out with civil as well as criminal charges. In January, 2014, the center will become the host organization for an international association of conflict management groups. Finally, a two-year-old program that works with Dayton-area small businesses to mediate neighborhood conflicts is thriving. read



  • Libya PM hopes last-ditch mediation can end oil crisis

    Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan expressed hope on Wednesday that last-ditch mediation can end a crisis sparked by the months-long blockade of eastern oil terminals by striking security guards. Armed protesters have refused to lift their blockade of vital oil terminals in eastern Libya, despite a tribal pledge to do so, sending output plummeting to 250,000 barrels per day from the normal level of almost 1.5 million bpd. "We prefer to give an opportunity to these initiatives, which will be the last," said Zeidan. read



  • Watch Al Franken Shred A Pro-Arbitration Professor For Trying To Gloss Over The Problem

    Earlier this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on mandatory binding arbitration clauses, those fun bits of contractual language that take away your right to sue a company and force you into a resolution process that is heavily weighted in the company’s favor. The hearing was chaired by Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, who earlier this year introduced the proposed Arbitration Fairness Act, and so he obviously has a thing or two to say on the topic. read



  • Emergency funding halts Interfaith Medical Center’s closure days before Christmas

    Inside Brooklyn’s Interfaith Hospital, they were celebrating new life. “There were people who came to work today expecting a Christmas massacre, instead they got a Christmas miracle,” said Rep. Hakeem Jefferies. Hospital officials were expected to resubmit a closure plan Monday morning after mediation talks between Interfaith, creditors, unions and other parties broke down last week. But a spokesperson for the hospital told PIX11 News, just before 10 o’clock administrators received a call from the Department of Health asking them to hold off, temporarily saving more than 1,500 jobs and countless patients. “I can always get another job, but we can never give back life when it’s lost,” said nurse Charmayne Saddler-Walker.  read



  • What EEOC Reports It Accomplished in FY 2013

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported it obtained a record $372.1 million in monetary relief for victims of private sector workplace discrimination in FY 2013. This is $6.7 million more than was recovered last year, and the highest level obtained in the commission’s history. Overall, the agency, which enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, secured both monetary and non-monetary benefits in fiscal year (FY) 2013 for more than 70,522 people through administrative enforcement activities including mediation, settlements and conciliations, according to its 2013 report. The EEOC also obtained more than $160.9 million in monetary benefits for complainants through mediation resolutions, which was the second highest level in the agency’s mediation program’s history. read



  • Portland water dispute with Tualatin, Tualatin Valley Water District in mediation

    A spat about summertime water between the Portland Water Bureau and Tualatin and Tualatin Valley Water District is in mediation. The issue is whether a routine purchase of water in the summer gives the suburban agencies an unfair discount, as Portland charges. Tualatin and TVWD say the agencies already crossed this bridge when negotiating their 2005 contract for Bull Run water. As a result of the dispute, the agencies did not buy water from Portland this summer in a way that allows them to keep rates lower. Tigard was also involved, but chose not to join the contract dispute. Tigard is switching to a partnership with Lake Oswego to draw water from the Clackamas River. read



  • To Mediate or Fight, the Choice is Yours; or is it?

    The case of Halsey v. Milton Keynes General NHS Trust [2004] 1 WLR 3002 was a landmark case on the way in which the courts treated mediation. That case clarified that an unreasonable refusal to participate in alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, was a form of unreasonable litigation conduct, to which the court may respond by imposing costs sanctions.
      read



12/24
  • Mediation talks continue between Detroit, banks over pension debt deal

    Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and lawyers for two banks are expected to return to federal court today for a second day of talks aimed at reaching more favorable terms for terminating a pension debt deal some blame for plunging Detroit into bankruptcy. The status of negotiations Monday was unclear because mediation talks are private and security guards were stationed outside Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen’s courtroom. Rosen, who is leading mediation talks in Detroit’s bankruptcy, ordered the city, banks and bond insurers to negotiate Monday and on Christmas Eve to negotiate a deal that could free up money for restructuring. read



  • Mediation Ordered In Suit Over Student Death

    A wrongful death lawsuit over the death of an Alamance County middle school student hit with a basketball has been sent to mediation. The Times-News of Burlington reports the mother of 14-year-old Geremy Carter sued Alamance-Burlington Schools after her son died from cardiac arrest during physical education classes at Graham Middle School in May 2011. The lawsuit says the boy collapsed after being hit in the groin with a basketball. The suit says instead of helping him, two teachers left him on the ground for 20 minutes, dismissing his condition as "man problems." Lawyers for the school district say the teachers were watching and got the boy help as soon as they discovered the severity of his condition. read



  • Mediation ordered in vandalism of chairlift in northern Idaho

    A northern Idaho judge has ordered mediation ahead of a potential trial involving a lawsuit filed by Schweitzer Mountain Resort against a man the resort says slashed chairlift seat covers. Judge Barbara Buchanan ordered the mediation Wednesday between the resort and David Donald Markwardt. If mediation fails, a trial is set to start July 28. Schweitzer filed the lawsuit last spring contending Markwardt slashed more than 60 seat covers dating back to the 2011 season. Criminal charges against the 63-year-old retired physician were dismissed in September after a judge ruled the state didn’t prove the damages exceeded $1,000. read



12/20
  • GA: State Ethics Commission Approves Hiring of 'Internal Mediator'

    The state ethics commission unanimously voted to hire a third party contractor who can serve as a mediator. The move comes after several former and current members of the commission have received federal grand jury subpoenas. It also follows two lawsuits filed by former employees who allege retaliation in connection with the handling of an ethics investigation involving Governor Nathan Deal and his 2010 campaign. read



  • US and Israeli officers in mediation bid to avert South Sudan civil war

    The US and, more discreetly, Israel are working together to prevent the world’s newest state, South Sudan, slipping over what President Barack Obama called “the precipice of civil war,” as clashes in the capital Juba spread Thursday, Dec, 19, across the country. Some 400-600 people have died in the tribal and ethnic warfare since last weekend, when President Salva Kiira accused his ousted deputy Riek Machar of a failed coup. US and Israeli officers were trying to restore discipline to the South Sudanese army and pursuing a mediation effort to reconcile the quarrel that has triggered brutal warfare between the president’s Dinka tribe and Machar’s Nuer ethnic group.  South Sudan President Salva Kiir is pictured. read



  • Chief Judge orders Christmas Eve mediation session in Detroit bankruptcy

    An order filed in the Detroit Chapter 9 bankruptcy case is ordering a continuation of mediation on Christmas Eve. The order was filed by US District Court Chief Judge Gerald Rosen. It comes one day after the judge in the case, Steven Rhodes, stopped a trial that could have led to Detroit being able to borrow money. The order compels a number of parties in the case and their attorneys to court on both Monday, December 23 and Tuesday, December 24. According to the order, those who attend the mediation sessions should have "full settlement authority."  It also says "Failure of any party to appear shall be grounds for the imposition of immediate sanctions, including entry of a default judgement." read



  • Mediator to assist latest talks on the future of European club rugby

    The chief executives of the four home Unions along with their French and Italian counterparts will meet tomorrow, in the presence of a mediator, for fresh discussions over the immediate future of European club rugby. This is the latest and most significant attempt to break the impasse in the ongoing Heineken Cup row. Whether or not the mediation talks prompt a significant breakthrough on the day, the fact that the meeting has been arranged this side of Christmas demonstrates the renewed resolve amongst the respective chief executives to try and find some way of bringing the English clubs and Welsh regions into the fold. read



  • The Use Of Early Mediation Strategies In Lanham Act Disputes

    Lanham Act disputes involve client assets that often are considered the most valuable assets of a business. Most often they involve brand names (trademarks and service marks), which the business has invested time, energy, and money in creating valuable goodwill. Such disputes often involve advertising claims and are frequently between direct competitors. Given the issues involved, costs in such cases can escalate quickly, even in cases which are not considered to be "bet the company" disputes. These cases are often disruptive of and a distraction from business for executives of the company, and many courts have determined that these cases are excellent candidates to alternative dispute resolution at an early stage. Use of mediation in intellectual property suits has increased from 28.6% of respondents in 1997, to 49.3% in 2011. Yet, this percentage is lagging behind other types of litigation, including personal injury (70.5% in 2011), commercial/contract (83.5% in 2011), and employment disputes (85.5% in 2011), showing that an opportunity exists for greater use of early mediation in trademark disputes. See id. With the rising cost of trademark litigation, early mediation can be a low-risk, high-reward path to the expedient resolution of a dispute. When used early, it can save the parties significant time and money. read



12/19
  • South Sudan Needs Respected Outside Mediation

    The scenario many feared but dared not contemplate looks frighteningly possible: South Sudan, the world’s newest state, is now arguably on the cusp of a civil war. Since the evening of Sunday, 15 December, its capital, Juba, has seen rival units of its army, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), fight each other. Armed groups have at the same time targeted civilians based on ethnicity. Violence has spread beyond the capital, including to areas already fraught with ethnic tensions, principally Jonglei state, over which the government may have lost control. What has for some time been a political crisis within the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) has now spilled over into an army that has long been riven by internal problems, including ethnic divisions and tensions. The blurred lines between these institutions, senior political figures and ethnic communities– as well as wide-scale arms proliferation—make the current situation particularly volatile. read



12/18
  • Mandela In The Arusha Peace Agreement

    This article explores the role played by Mandela in the resolution of the Burundian political crises through which the Arusha Peace Agreement and the Pretoria Protocol were established.  The leadership experience Mandela showed during apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa in helping to heal decades of heinous atrocities helped him to steer and control the affairs of the Burundian crisis. In some sense, the realities of Burundians were similar to South Africa where a minority Tutsis elite control all prominent political and economic institutions including the military.   read



  • Mediation rights under IDEA

    The federal regulations for Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) includes many provisions to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability while also giving families and school systems means by which to resolve disputes. These rights are known as procedural safeguards. Parents have specific rights under this law to mediation under 34 CFR &200.506. Your school district must make mediation available to allow you and the school to resolve disagreements involving any matter under Part B of the IDEA. This includes matters which may have come up prior to the filing of a due process complaint. Mediation is available to resolve disputes whether or not you have filed a due process complaint requesting a due process hearing. If you have filed a due process complaint, mediation is typically offered as a potential way to settle these disagreements.  read



  • London hospital promotes mediation as tension management tool

    Model helps resolve conflicts between family members and clinicians.  A new project by the Medical Mediation Foundation, aimed at breaking down tension between family members and health professionals when there is a disagreement about a child's course of treatment, is in full swing at Evelina London Children's Hospital, The Guardian reported. Noting the importance of communication between caregivers to a child's recovery, the Evalina Resolution Project offers mediation at the request of parents or staff members, and trains hospital personnel in stress management techniques. It also teaches staff how to recognize triggers for conflict and ways to rebuild trust when a situation deteriorates, the article states. More than 90 staff nurses have completed training sessions, with doctors set to begin training this month. The sessions help staff think about issues from the parents' perspective and reflect on how their actions impact them, according to the article.
      read



12/17
  • Bankruptcy Mediation Promotes More Meaningful Negotiations

    Bankruptcy has long-term consequences you need to know and understand before you file. However, sometimes Bankruptcy is the only way to have a meaningful conversation with your mortgage servicer. In Foreclosure Mediation, typically the bank’s representative appears by phone and does not have the authority to negotiate anything other than a HAMP modification (which the borrower is entitled to anyway without the added mediation fee). It is difficult to negotiate if there is only one outcome possible. Bankruptcy is a way to make the bank put their money where their mediation is. read



12/16
  • Mandatory Arbitration Provisions

    Question: We are in the process of revising our employment agreements and want to put in a mandatory arbitration provision for all employees who have discrimination and wrongful-termination claims. Can you give us some tips on what such a provision should and should not look like in order to make sure it will be enforceable? read



  • Forced Arbitration Is Terrible For Consumers And Right-Wing Media Love It

    A federal agency's new preliminary report debunks the popular right-wing myth that private contracts that require people to take their complaints to an arbitrator are an effective alternative to class-action lawsuits. Right-wing media outlets have consistently supported what are known as "forced-arbitration clauses" -- contractual provisions that often force consumers to give up their right to join a class action lawsuit and instead require them to go before an arbitrator individually, even if the amount in dispute is so small that it wouldn't make sense to pursue outside of a collective, mass action. But according to preliminary findings from a year-long study conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), forced arbitration clauses actually have the effect of denying consumers of financial products an important avenue for redress in contractual disputes. According to Alison Frankel at Reuters, "the evidence shows arbitration doesn't provide any recovery to the overwhelming majority of consumers of financial products."  read



  • Mediation's deep Jewish roots

    Mediation is deeply rooted in Judaism under laws of compromise and justice known as p’shara. Aaron, brother of Moses, was called a pursuer of peace (rodef shalom) and is recognized as Judaism’s first mediator. Implicit in p’shara is the belief that much is to be gained by the one who exhausts the effort to settle a dispute out of court, including peace of mind and spiritual strength. Mediation today is generally understood to mean a confidential session where a neutral party called ‘Mediator’ meets with parties to a dispute and their counsel (if represented) outside the litigation process. The mediator, who has no authority to make any ruling, is there to guide the parties to reach a settlement on their own and avoid the need for an imposed solution by a court or arbitrator. Use of mediation in the United States and internationally, as the first step to settling disputes, is booming. For good reason. It works. Parties who use mediation invariably praise it for saving them time, expense, uncertainty and continued stress that accompanies litigation. Sometimes mediation even succeeds to repair broken relationships. read



12/13
  • Settling Claims Disputes: Mediation and Other Matters

    If a dispute which goes to mediation settles, fine, the parties normally believe that the process has worked, been of value, and the desired end of the dispute has been reached. In cases where mediation does not end with a settlement agreement, there often is still value to having gone through the process. With parties facing each other frequently they will leave the conference at least with a better perspective of how the other side views issues, and that the opposite party is not simply some kind of irresponsible person. By participating both sides will often see that the other is serious and acting in good faith but simply has a different view on issues. read



  • Foreclosure mediation program launched in Lake County

    A free mediation program has been launched in Lake County to help homeowners facing foreclosure. The effort, run through the 19th circuit court system, aims to make the foreclosure process easier to navigate and to assist communications between homeowners and their banks. A neutral mediator who doesn't represent the homeowner or the bank will oversee a discussion between the parties and help both sides explore options, including loan modifications that could allow people to stay in their homes. "The program is not intended to force banks to modify loans," Lake County Judge Mitchell Hoffman told the county board during a presentation in Waukegan this week. "But it is intended to ensure that homeowners get clear and timely decisions from banks without undue delay of the judicial process."  A Chicago company called Resolution Systems Institute is partnering with the county on the program. The firm recently trained 24 mediators for the task. read



  • Judge McConnell streamlines foreclosure mediation process in Rhode Island

    U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell Jr. on Thursday issued an order to streamline the processing of the hundreds of cases in his foreclosure mediation docket. All cases involving commercial properties and non-owner-occupied residential properties will be removed from the mediation docket, managed by Special Master Merrill W. Sherman, the order said. Also, new cases in which properties have already been foreclosed will no longer be admitted to the docket. The order, a response to an appeals court directive to impose time and cost limits on the mediation process, also said that for all cases, both plaintiffs and defendants must identify a “lead” representative who has the authority to settle cases.  In addition, McConnell’s order said, there will no longer be “multiple mediations.” “Each case will get one bite at the mediation apple,” the order said. read



  • European Parliament calls for immediate launch of EU mediation mission to find a way out of crisis in Ukraine – resolution

    The European Parliament has called for the immediate launch of a new EU mediation mission "at the highest political level" to secure a peaceful outcome to the current crisis in Ukraine. This is stated in a European Parliament resolution on the outcome of the Vilnius Summit and the future of the Eastern Partnership, in particular as regards Ukraine, which was voted during a plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Thursday. "[The European Parliament] calls for the immediate launch of a new, fully fledged EU mediation mission at the highest political level, to achieve, and assist in, roundtable talks between the government and the democratic opposition and civil society and to secure a peaceful outcome to the current crisis," reads the resolution. In addition, the European Parliament expresses its full solidarity "with those demonstrating for a European future; and calls on the Ukrainian authorities to fully respect people's civil rights and the fundamental freedom of assembly and peaceful protest." read



  • Why mediation training should be offered in hospitals

    Escalating conflicts have the potential to impact on care of patients and all others on a unit.  A project run by the Medical Mediation Foundation and funded by the Guy's and St Thomas's charity aims to prevent conflicts escalating into crises. The project was launched at the Evelina London children's hospital in January, to support families and health professionals where there is disagreement, tension and anger surrounding a child's medical care. read



12/11
  • Valley Views: Mediation is safer, faster, costs less than litigation

    A local radio ad has called attention to mediation and its advantages — or disadvantages. Contrary to the advertisement’s claims, mediation frequently results in a better understanding of dispute issues and legally binding agreements, at less emotional and financial cost than litigation. Mediation uses an impartial third-party to help people discuss their disputes, decide next steps and come up with solutions. Mediation is increasingly considered the appropriate dispute resolution process due to its cost-effectiveness, efficiency and ability to help people make decisions while resolving conflict constructively. read



  • Case update: unreasonable refusal to mediate

    Lord Justice Briggs says that: “This case sends out an important message to civil litigants, requiring them to engage with a serious invitation to participate in ADR, even if they have reasons which might justify a refusal, or the undertaking of some other form of ADR, or ADR at some other time in the litigation. To allow the present appeal would, as it seems to me, blunt that message. The court’s task in encouraging the more proportionate conduct of civil litigation is so important in current economic circumstances that it is appropriate to emphasise that message by a sanction which, even if a little more vigorous than I would have preferred, nonetheless operates pour encourager les autres.” read



  • Mediation Positions vs. Interests

    In the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution, mediators, among other things, help people in dispute come to a mutually acceptable resolution about issues they do not agree on. Each party typically holds a disparate perspective from the other on what constitutes an appropriate settlement. By the time they get to talk it out in the mediation process to see if they can resolve matters, they have often become entrenched in their positions and the relationship is suffering. read



  • The Promise of International Commercial Mediation

    Professor S.I. Strong, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law (and a friend of this blog) has published “Beyond International Commercial Arbitration? the Promise of International Commercial Mediation,” 42 Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, 2014, Forthcoming; University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-21. In her article, Professor Strong examines the role of mediation in international business disputes. read



12/10
  • LA County Calls In Mediator As Social Workers Strike For Fifth Day

    Los Angeles County called in a mediator as a strike by social workers over caseload size reached its fifth day. Striking social workers jammed the hallways outside of L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina’s El Monte field office Monday. The supervisor and her staff were out, but the strikers chanted and paraded past the door to make their presence known. “This is worth it. It’s all worth it,” said one striker. “It’s all about childsafety for us.” Striking workers insist they will return to work if the county will put in writing a guarantee of smaller caseloads, limiting the number of cases to 20 to 25 from the nearly 30 to 40 they have now. The county says they are not ready to put that in writing. read



  • Top Exeter judge urges families to try mediation before court action

    Legal professionals got together at Exeter County Court during Dispute Resolution Week to highlight the fact that legal aid is still widely available for family mediation. Family mediation allows families to resolve disputes after separation in a cost effective way. Judge David Tyzack QC told mediators from a variety of firms across Devon: “The judiciary are very much in favour of families resolving their own arrangements and we encourage all families to consider mediation before setting off on court proceedings. “Legal aid is still available for mediation and for legal advice in support of mediation. read



  • Most cases of violence against Afghan women mediated, not prosecuted

    Afghan police have recorded more reports of violence against women under a recently enacted law, but prosecutions remain low, a U.N. report says. "The landmark law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was a huge achievement for all Afghans," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a release. "But implementation has been slow and uneven, with police still reluctant to enforce the legal prohibition against violence and harmful practices." read



12/09
  • Peacemakers lead student mediation at Steinbrenner High

    Steinbrenner High School seniors Katya Brioni and Erica Maurino are part of a group of students trying to make a difference. According to them, they have no choice but to deal with uncomfortable realities of life, and sometimes get in the faces fellow students – but it’s all worth it. They are part of the Steinbrenner Peacemakers, a peer mediation group that deals with almost every issue that makes their fellow students uncomfortable, especially when it comes to bullying. read



  • Six Tips For Mediating Class Actions

    There comes a time in many class actions when the parties agree to mediate. Like class litigation, the mediation of class actions, whether pre-certification or post-certification, is more complicated than the mediation of individual cases. Here are a few tips for making the most of the experience. read



  • Make peace like Mandela, Kerry urges Israel, Palestinians

    To the two pessimistic sides in ongoing peace talks, John Kerry quoted Nelson Mandela, who said of challenges: "It always seems impossible until it is done."  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry closed another Middle East troubleshooting mission on Friday by urging Israel and the Palestinians to follow Nelson Mandela's lead and make peace.  The death on Thursday of Mandela, who fought apartheid in South Africa and became its first black president, was mourned across the globe, including by Israelis and Palestinians — the latter calling him an inspiration for their statehood struggle. Kerry wants to coax the two sides towards a negotiated accord, and set a nine-month deadline when talks were launched in July. But both sides have indicated they are pessimistic about the outcome.  Before departing from Tel Aviv after a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, Kerry quoted Mandela as having said, in the face of challenges, that "it always seems impossible until it is done."  read



12/08
  • Appeals Court Sides With Employers on Arbitration

    Employers can require their workers to sign arbitration agreements waiving all rights to class-action lawsuits over workplace grievances, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. The ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a National Labor Relations Board decision last year that found such agreements conflicted with federal law giving workers the right to pursue collective action to complain about workplace conditions. The court's ruling is a win for businesses that want to limit legal exposure from the rising cost of class-action lawsuits over unpaid overtime and other wage violations. But it's a blow to workers who find it easier to band together when challenging the policies at a large company. read



  • Investor advocates push to see trove of arbitration records

    A long-running battle over whether the top U.S. securities regulator should release records about its supervision of Wall Street's arbitration process is about to go another round, this time with input from a vocal consumer advocate. For nearly four years, a group of lawyers has been pushing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to release documents about its oversight over how the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority selects arbitrators who hear legal disputes between brokerages and investors. FINRA, the Wall Street industry-funded watchdog, runs the arbitration forum where investors and brokerages must resolve their legal disputes. The Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA), a lawyers' group pushing for the release, has now enlisted lawyers of its own. The litigation arm of Public Citizen, a consumer rights group in Washington, filed a brief on PIABA's behalf in a federal appeals court last week to overturn a U.S. district court's earlier decision to keep the records a secret. read



  • FINRA Arbitrators to Get Pay Raise

    Arbitrators in disputes between investors and brokers will get more pay for their work, the brokerage industry's self-regulator decided Thursday, people familiar with the matter said. Lawyers and arbitrators hope the pay rise, the first in 14 years, will attract more--and more skilled--arbitrators. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc., which oversees the arbitration process, approved an increase in compensation for hearing arbitrators. Finra's board agreed to raise pay by 50%, to $300 for half-day dispute hearings and $600 for full-day sessions, according to people familiar with the matter. The chairperson of an arbitration panel is to receive an extra $125, an increase of 67%, these people said. The pay increases are "long overdue," Philip Aidikoff of Aidikoff, Uhl & Bakhtiari, a Beverly Hills, Calif., law firm that represents mainly investors who seek compensation from brokers for investment losses. "It's an acknowledgment that the arbitrators, for the most part, do a very good job and take it very seriously." read



12/05
  • Conflict resolution the friendly way

    TRI-CITIES  MICHIGAN — As much as people hope to avoid it, conflict exists in life. Whether it's the board room, the bedroom, the classroom or at City Hall, conflict crops up with the potential to destroy. There's also the potential for growth, and for understanding. That's the goal of The Resolution Center, a conflict resolution clearinghouse which now serves the Thumb. TRC is one of 18 community mediation centers located throughout the state, and has been in existence since 1993. The non-profit center is funded by a state grant from the Michigan Supreme Court, civil matter filing fees and a variety of foundations and fundraisers. TRC's expanded coverage area includes Macomb, St. Clair, Lapeer, Sanilac, Huron and Tuscola counties. TRC provides non-adversarial mediation to businesses, individuals, neighbors, families and more. Persons can choose the process on their own; some may be referred by or ordered through the court system. read



  • Doctor’s wife is charged in his shooting outside law office after mediation session

    A mediation session at a Tennessee lawyer's office Wednesday "apparently didn't go well," a Manchester police investigator says. As Dr. Henry Bartee and his estranged wife, Brenda Bartee, both 47, were being walked by an attorney to the door of Rogers, Duncan and North at about 1 p.m., Brenda Bartee pulled a handgun out of her waistband and fired seven rounds, Butch Stewart told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. Four rounds struck her husband, who was airlifted to a Chattanooga hospital. Brenda Bartee was charged with attempted first-degree murder and is being held at the Coffee County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond, the newspaper reports. She admitted the shooting, Stewart says, and told police her husband had "been picking on her." read



  • Ukraine protests: mediator flies in as paralysing standoff continues

    Council of Europe's secretary general calls on Ukrainian authorities to launch independent inquiry into police violence.  A European mediator flew into Kiev to meet with the Ukrainian government and opposition on Wednesday, but there was no sign of an end to the standoff that has paralysed the centre of the city and the work of the government for days. read



  • Singapore: International mediation centre for commercial disputes mulled

    Law Ministry considers moves that anticipate expected rise in cross border commercial disputes. The Republic is poised to become a more attractive venue for international commercial dispute resolution and mediation, with two recommendations made public by the Law Ministry this morning (Dec 3).  The Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) Committee has recommended that the SICC be established as a division of the High Court, with a panel of judges which would include foreign jurists.  Meanwhile, the International Commercial Mediation Working Group (ICMWG) has recommended that Singapore establish an international mediation service provider to be called the Singapore International Mediation Centre. read



  • Bruce to act as mediator between Allam and fans after astonishing words from owner

    Steve Bruce will seek talks with Assem Allam to smooth over the furore that the Hull owner has created after his outrageous attack on the club’s supporters. Astonishingly, Allam has told fans ‘they can die as soon as they want’ after protests over his plans to change the club’s name from Hull City FC to Hull City Tigers. Allam added: ‘As long as they leave the club for the majority who just want to watch good football. How can they call themselves fans, these hooligans, this militant minority?’ read



  • Intercultural mediator on Roma communities – the birth of a new profession?

    Over the last 10 years, and in the course of several Roma integration programmes, a new function or rather a professional role has emerged: the Roma mediator - a professional involved in various fields (in particular the areas of Roma integration, education, health care, employment, and residence). In this article, Éva Deák, from the Partners Hungary Foundation, provides an overview on the link between social groups, different cultures, and about results and successes in understanding and manage social conflict. read



12/04
  • Mediation might stop needless suits involving state, local governments

    The Ohio Supreme Court wants to help government officials stay out of court. With the abolishment of the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management two years ago, a branch of the Ohio Supreme Court — but not the court itself — is taking over the sometimes-difficult task of mediating disputes involving “budget, public-records requests and other organizational issues without court involvement.” The Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution recently sent out a statewide survey to gather information to help with the creation of a formal process to iron out disputes at all levels of government: state, county, city and township. “Conflict-resolution processes, such as mediation and facilitation, are powerful tools that can be used to clarify communications, build stronger working relationships and reach consensus,” the commission said in a letter accompanying the survey. “Public officials have found that involving an impartial third party is an effective way to reach agreements and prevent disputes from escalating into unproductive, contentious impasses.” The court will cover resolution costs, said Jacqueline Hagerott, manager of the Dispute Resolution Section.  read



12/03
  • AZ: Mediation can help keep debtors out of the courtroom

    The country’s consumption-centric culture fuels much of our economic engine. But that drive to buy, on full display on days like Black Friday, also causes the accumulation of mountains of consumer debt, which if unpaid starts a cycle that often ends up in a courtroom somewhere. It happens often enough that one Pima County judge has sought a less litigious way to resolve debt-collection issues that benefits both debtor and creditors and helps minimize the backlog of cases in the court. Creditors have to find ways to collect on those back bills. It might start with calls from collection agencies, but very often creditors resort to the courts to get their due. “Mediation allows people to maintain control of the decision making,” said Anne Fisher Segal, a Pima County Justice Court judge. Segal has been promoting mediation as an alternative to lawsuits in all the debt-related cases in her courtroom. read



  • Mediation set in Charleston cruise case

    A mediation session is set for next month in a lawsuit challenging a permit for a new $35 million passenger cruise ship terminal in Charleston. Court records show a mediator for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond plans to meet with attorneys in the case on Jan. 7. Both the South Carolina State Ports Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are appealing a decision by a federal judge tossing out the Corps’ permit for the project. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled in September that the Corps didn’t adequately review the terminal’s effects on the city’s historic district. Environmental, preservation and neighborhood groups have challenged the permit allowing additional pilings beneath a waterfront warehouse so the structure can be renovated for the new passenger terminal. read



  • Colin Rule Receives 2013 Mary Parker Follett Award from ACR

    Congratulations to Colin Rule! The 2013 Mary Parker Follett Award was awarded to Colin on October 11, 2013 at the ACR Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN. read



  • The thief whisperer: Trained mediator persuades burglar to sit at kitchen table for a chat until police arrive

    Confronted by a masked burglar in our home in the dead of night, most of us would scream or run away. When it happened to Viv Hulland, she suggested the intruder join her at the kitchen table for a chat. The 54-year-old, who works as a professional mediator, said she sensed from the balaclava-clad criminal’s body language that he was as frightened as she was. read



12/01
  • Pence, Ritz agree to mediation on education roles

    Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz yesterday agreed to have the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) facilitate a conversation among the members of the Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE) regarding roles, responsibilities, and the operations of the Board. Under the leadership of Superintendent Ritz, Indiana re-joined NASBE earlier this year. Governor Pence and Superintendent Ritz also discussed the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI). read



  • Preparation is the Foundation for Achieving Settlement in Mediation

    Mediation is becoming a "must" in many states prior to a judge hearing a case. While it may not be a written statute or rule, it is a preferred practice, especially in civil cases. Having the opportunity to achieve settlement of a dispute without the time, expense and unpredictability of a trial takes an effort, but when properly planned for can allow both parties to feel that a fair resolution has been accomplished. read



November 2013

11/28
  • 2nd Mediation Session Coming As Nuke Plant Lockout Looms

    A federal mediator was unable to help Seabrook Station nuclear power plant and its unionized employees reach an agreement on a new deal Wednesday, so a special session will be held Sunday in the hopes that the sides can avoid an impending work stoppage. read



  • Court Is Not the Only Option for Separating Couples - Greater Awareness of Dispute Resolution Is Urgently Needed

    Each year more than 230,000 people in the UK go through the traumatic process of divorce. The process if often stressful, costly and - particularly when children are involved - it can be complex and needs to be handled with great care by all those professionals involved. Yet, contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of divorces don't require a full-blown court case to resolve these often difficult and sensitive issues. While some couples, thankfully, are able to agree things with the bare minimum of legal input, for those who require help the legal system has developed a number of processes, collectively known as dispute resolution, that avoid the need for court altogether. read



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Jerald Kessler
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Pepperdine Univ. Margaret S. Powers
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