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November 2014

  • Indiana high court suggests mediation in IBM case

    The Indiana Supreme Court has asked attorneys for the state and IBM Corp. to consider mediation to settle their dispute over IBM's failed attempt to privatize Indiana's welfare services. Chief Justice Loretta Rush said in Thursday's order that the court "encourages the parties to consider engaging in mediation to seek a mutually agreeable resolution of their dispute." Her order directs the two sides to inform the court within 30 days if they've agreed to mediation. If that mediation effort fails, the court — which heard arguments in the case on Oct. 30 — will move ahead to reach a decision in the dispute. read

  • Early Mediation Offered for Women's World Cup Players

    Players protesting the plan to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf were denied a fast-tracked hearing in Canada over the dispute. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario instead offered early mediation between the players and the Canadian Soccer Association. But the CSA announced late Friday it would not take part in mediation. The tribunal’s ruling and subsequent rejection by the CSA came the same day a group of U.S. senators wrote soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, urging it to reconsider the decision to play on artificial turf. FIFA and the CSA are overseeing the World Cup, which will be played in six Canadian cities next June and July. The players, including Abby Wambach, claim that holding the World Cup on artificial turf amounts to gender discrimination because men play soccer’s premier tournament on real grass. read

  • Qatari Mediation: Between Ambition and Achievement

    From 2006 to 2011, Qatar was highly active as a conflict mediator within the greater Middle East, seeking political consensus in Lebanon as well as securing a key peace agreement regarding the Darfur conflict. What were the drivers of Qatari mediation during this time, and how successful were Qatari negotiators in their efforts? How has Qatar’s foreign policy during the Arab Spring affected its ability to act as a mediator? How might Qatar expand its mediation capacity in the future? read

  • Singapore International Mediation Institute Launched to Set World-Class Mediation Standards

    A new institute has been established to set world-class mediation standards in Singapore and the region. The Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI), which is housed at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law, was officially launched today by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education. The launch event was attended by about 100 local and international lawyers, regulators and academics. read

  • Getting divorced: a user’s guide

    So you’re getting divorced. Quite how you feel about that prospect will, of course, depend on the circumstances. Are you divorcing your spouse or being divorced by them? No one likes to feel like a victim of circumstances we cannot control – that is one of the worst sources of stress that life can throw at us. But relationships are a delicate balance. If your partner decides it’s all over, there is in reality very little you can do. You might – might – be able to persuade them to give it another go, but the cat is out of the bag and the genie is out of the bottle. That delicate balance has taken quite a knock. You cannot unsay the word ‘divorce’. read

  • City of Anniston, RMC board to continue mediation through phone, email

    City of Anniston officials plan to mediate with the Regional Medical Center board through phone and email to settle their recent legal disputes in lieu of meeting together like last week. Bruce Downey, city attorney, said city representatives will likely not reconvene with board representatives in a meeting to negotiate unless it's considered absolutely necessary. The decision comes after both parties spent around 12 hours with a neutral mediator in Birmingham Oct. 28 in an attempt to settle their legal disagreements outside of court. Both parties will likely continue to negotiate through the mediator, but by phone and email. "If it's necessary, we'll reconvene," Downey said. "But I think we could continue remotely ... we'd just call and email (the negotiator) and vice versa." read

  • Gainesville Rotary speaker lauds use of mediation to settle civil disputes

    On the eve of the largest intercollegiate mediation tournament in the world, a Georgia trial and appellate court judge from Gainesville said Monday the alternate form of dispute resolution “can usually create better outcomes than trials” in resolving civil disputes. Speaking to the Gainesville Rotary Club, former Georgia Appeals Court Judge J.D. Smith said that mediation and its cousin, arbitration, are both expanding as methods of choice for resolving civil disputes in the United States and abroad because they lead to quicker results at less expense to all parties than lengthy trials in traditional courtrooms. “Mediation for me is satisfying because you get to hammer out some kind of shared solutions that both sides can live with,” Smith said. “You are getting to decisions and solutions that you are never going to achieve with a judge and a jury in a courtroom.” read

  • Judge Orders Mediation in Guardrail Lawsuit

    Trinity Industries, a maker of highway guardrails that are suspected of having a dangerous defect, and a whistle-blower have been ordered to enter mediation after the company lost a $175 million verdict for defrauding the United States government. On Tuesday, a federal judge said Trinity and Joshua Harman, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration under the False Claims Act, must mediate their dispute by the end of the year. Last week, the company was found liable for fraud because it did not report changes to its ET-Plus guardrail system to federal authorities for years. The judge, Rodney Gilstrap, said that the mediator could invite the Justice Department and the Federal Highway Administration, which did not participate in the lawsuit, to be involved. read

October 2014

  • Arbitrators Finally 'Get' E-discovery

    For years, many proponents of arbitration have considered the cost and delays of discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) inconsistent with core principles of arbitration such as efficiency and cost-effectiveness. That view led many arbitral bodies and arbitrators to step only cautiously and slowly into the e-discovery realm. They were unsure of how to implement it until new rules were issued.  Domestic arbitral bodies, beset with criticisms of arbitration generally, have made and continue to make changes with regard to ESI. Both JAMS and the American Arbitration Association (AAA) now have protocols for e-discovery, as do several of the international arbitration providers. read

  • Six Tips for a Simple Divorce

    Whatever the trigger for a couple taking such a step, divorce is never an easy or pleasant experience. But there are approaches which can make it more straightforward and somewhat less personally taxing, particularly if there are children involved. Mediation and collaborative law are two possible approaches. Here is a quick introduction to the areas you'll need to think about when deciding what the right approach is for you: read

  • Prevention is key to stopping bullying, several experts say

    New research is showing that previous attempts to slow down bullying in schools are failing. New recommendations from some of the nation’s experts are changing the way many perceive the importance of prevention of bullying, rather than treating it after it begins. read

  • Arab Approaches for Conflict

    Laura and Saeed discuss conflict resolution in the Arab world as it relates to political and ideological disputes. The conversation is based on a new book, "Arab Approaches for Conflict Resolution: Mediation, Negotiation and Settlement of Political Disputes." Guests include the book's authors, Director of Wayne State University's Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Fred Pearson and Adjunct faculty member at Wayne State and expert in Middle East conflict and inter-cultural conflict management Nahla Hamdan. read

  • Prepare for Mediation Success: Six Tips for Writing a Strong Brief

    Writing a persuasive brief is one of the most important things an attorney can do to prepare for mediation of a business dispute. A good brief provides the opposing side with information they need to consider. Perhaps even more important though is an excellent brief that can help the mediator assist with successful resolution. Here are six tips. read

  • USDA Re-certifies North Dakota Mediation Service

    Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recertified the North Dakota Mediation Service (NDMS) through Sept. 30, 2015. “USDA’s Farm Service Agency has informed me that the mediation service meets all federal statutory and regulatory requirements and will continue to receive federal funds for the coming year,” Goehring said. “This certification means North Dakota farmers and ranchers can call on NDMS to provide them with an affordable means of resolving disputes and often avoiding costly litigation.” NDMS handled more than 60 cases this past year. The cases included credit issues, landowner disputes and conflicts arising from energy development. read

  • How do I negotiate with my spouse's lawyer?

    There’s plenty of guidance available to lawyers and judges on how to deal with an unrepresented litigant but I haven’t seen much out there aimed at unrepresented litigants themselves on how to deal with your ex’s lawyer and the judge in your case. Personally I think there is a need for such advice because it is increasingly common to find yourself up against a lawyer representing your ex, especially with the effective abolition last year of legal aid for private family law matters. read

  • Fighting Your Broker in Arbitration? Finra 'Judges' Give Some Tips

    You may think you have an open-and-shut case against a stockbroker who's a 10 on the sleaze scale. But the arbitrators who hear cases against Wall Street's rogues say even investors with good cases can lose when they're not prepared for their hearings. A panel of four arbitrators spoke Thursday at the annual meeting of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, a group of lawyers who represent investors who've been fleeced. They shared ideas about what works and what doesn't when investors look to be made whole after investment losses. Every investor has to agree to use arbitration run by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, rather than court, before he or she can open a brokerage account, so it's worth knowing what arbitrators want, and what turns them off. read

  • Teen's jail death lawsuit heads to mediation

    The family of a teenager who died in police custody arrived in Jacksonville Thursday for a court-ordered mediation. Nineteen-year-old Daniel Linsinbigler asphyxiated while in custody at the Clay County Jail in March 2013 in a death that has since been ruled a homicide. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, and Friday's mediation session will be the first time a settlement has been broached. According to police reports, the teen was picked up March 2, 2013, after barging into hotel rooms at the Stay Inn Suites in Orange Park, where he was living. He had a history of mental illness, and apparently suffered a psychotic break after smoking a once-legal convenience store drug, known as K2 or Spice. "He made a choice to use synthetic marijuana," his mom Valerie Linsinbigler told First Coast News earlier this year, "and it landed him in jail." Daniel was arrested while running around naked, proclaiming he was Jesus Christ and charged with two misdemeanors. But as his mother notes, he ended up paying the ultimate price. read

  • Mediation system to help cabbies resolve disputes with companies

    In Singapore, taxi drivers can now turn to a more structured system to help settle disputes with their taxi companies quickly and amicably. The Taxi Industry Mediation system is a collaboration between the Land Transport Authority (LTA), taxi companies and National Taxi Association (NTA). It was launched in July, and is on trial for six months. The National Taxi Association receives about 10 cases a week on a range of issues which drivers face with their taxi companies, insurance firms or between drivers themselves. A top complaint is drivers feeling they were unfairly terminated due to service lapses. read

  • Why Celebrities Should Opt for Fast Mediation When Divorcing

    It's just three years ago when I personally invited Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore to settle their divorce over a weekend in one of our DivorceHotels in order to avoid a never ending process. In the end they didn't take me up on my offer and as it turned out, it took 2 whole years to get the divorce finalized after they had split up. From that moment on, celebrity divorces started to fascinate me. read

  • Jerry Jones Assault Lawsuit Dismissed Following Mediation

    A lawsuit alleging sexual assault against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been dismissed following mediation that lasted until 3 a.m. Thursday.  In the lawsuit, former exotic dancer Jana Weckerly accused Jones of forcibly touching her genitals and kissing her on the lips without her consent more than 5 years ago. Weckery alleges that the 2009 assault took place on the night a series of racy pictures were taken. Those pictures were released last month. Jones has denied the allegations. According to a public document, the plaintiff will get nothing, as the suit was filed outside the statute of limitations. “We are pleased with the Court’s Judgment against Ms. Weckerly. Ms. Weckerly’s allegations were false. This case is over,” said Jones’ attorney, Levi McCathern. Attorney Ed Klein says that there may be undisclosed terms of the agreement. read

  • Mediation talks in Hong Kong to be televised

    Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong are brushing off an accusation that they are being influenced by foreign forces. Despite the standoff, student protest leaders are to resume talks with the government on Tuesday. For the first time in weeks the drama in Hong Kong is moving from the streets to the bargaining table. Mediation talks are set for Tuesday night and they will be televised. In the meantime protesters seem to be listening to their leaders, to sit-in, stay calm and avoid provoking police. Even the talks' mediator warned against rising expectations. The mediator was asked what the odds are of reaching an agreement? "I am not going to speculate at all about whether there will be a resolution but I hope because as part of the agreement this is not the only dialogue that will take place,” said Leonard Cheng. read

  • Russia-Ukraine-EU talks to conclude interim deal on Russian gas start in Brussels

    Russia and Ukraine with the mediation of the European Union launched talks in the trilateral format in Brussels on conclusion of an interim agreement on Russian natural gas supplies, Olga Golant, a spokeswoman for the Russian energy minister, said on Tuesday. Russia and Ukraine met for gas talks on Tuesday to discuss the issue of Ukraine’s gas debt repayment and natural gas supplies to Europe in winter. The EU is seeking guarantees for stable gas supplies in winter. Otherwise, Ukraine may siphon off Russia’s Europe-bound natural gas. Russia also wants to ensure stable gas supplies to European consumers and recover a $5.3 billion debt from Ukraine, which acknowledges only a debt of $3.1 billion. read

  • McIlroy confirms break due to legal dispute

    Rory McIlroy has confirmed he plans to take a break from golf to concentrate on the legal battle with his former management company.McIlroy intends to skip the BMW Masters, which begins on October 30 at Lake Malaren, and the following week's HSBC Champions event to prepare for the upcoming legal battle with Horizon. Lawyers representing the Northern Irishman and Horizon Sports Management failed to reach an agreement in mediation last week, so the long-running legal battle is now set to be concluded in court. read

  • Getting a fair shake in arbitration

    The Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association has made one valid point in its criticism of the pool of arbitrators used by Finra to settle suits by investors against brokers, but it also makes a number of unjustified assumptions about members of the pool. In a study it released last week, PIABA implied that investors cannot get a fair shake from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.'s arbitrators because 80% of the roster is male, the average age is 67 and 73% have advanced degrees. It noted that “PIABA's research shows Finra's arbitrator pool consists primarily of elderly men who have socioeconomic status that puts them out of touch with the average investor.” It also reported that the “win rate” for claimants dropped from about 60% in the early 1990s to 42% in 2013. read

  • Mediation talks in Rory McIlroy case to take place this week

    Mediation talks between golfer Rory McIlroy and his former sports management agency over a disputed fees agreement will take place this week, the Commercial Court heard today. Mr McIlroy is suing Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management Ltd along with two other companies, Gurteen Ltd, with a registered address in Malta, and Dublin-based Canovan Management Services. He claims a representation agreement signed by him in December 2011 is not valid and unenforceable on grounds including undue influence. He says that agreement was signed when he was aged just 22, inexperienced and without the benefit of independent legal advice. read

  • For people filing complaints against New Orleans police, mediation now an option

    A man feels disrespected by a police officer during a traffic stop. A woman believes a cop ignored her calls for help. An arrestee feels an officer was rude. These are among the types of situations that most commonly prompt residents to file a complaint at the New Orleans Police Department. Such matters are investigated, but in most cases the citizen receives a letter a few months later saying the allegations could not be proven. Meanwhile, the officer involved is skipped over for promotions. But now there is a new option available that officials hope will prove more satisfying for residents and cops. If both the officer and the person who filed the complaint agree, they can now opt for mediation, a face-to-face airing of grievances. read

  • Pokémon to Mediation

    The civil war intensified. My two teammates fired shots at one another. I buried my face in my palms, avoiding the crossfire. The battlefield was a dorm room at the California Institute of Technology two summers ago. Our mission, as students in a high school computer science program, was coding a game using the programming language, Python. We chose Lights Out, originally programmed by Steve Jobs. Yet our mission seemed impossible given the explosive arguments of my teammates, Goku and Vegeta. read

  • Legal mediation: Resolving confidential matters by private agreement

    Confidential and swift resolutions to private legal matters are paramount, especially when problems are solved, confidences are preserved, and long-term relationships prevail. State-certified and trained mediators provide a formal structure and process for resolving legal issues by mutual agreement without public litigation. read

  • Blocking the Use of Mediation Documents in Litigation

    The central question is not whether the documents were produced or used in mediation. If that were the question, a party could shield from discovery each and every document it uses in connection with a mediation, which naturally would encourage document dumps in mediation. The issue is whether the challenged documents existed before the parties engaged in mediation. read

  • Mediator to begin work on Atlanta Symphony impasse

    Allison Beck won’t be walking into an unknown situation Tuesday when she relaunches negotiations between the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and its locked-out musicians. Last summer, Beck, the acting director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, talked the New York Metropolitan Opera and its workers and musicians from a dozen unions back into the concert hall and helped save the season. But that was before a lockout took place. She will begin the difficult work of trying to rescue the ASO’s season after a monthlong lockout during which rancor and tension over pay, benefits and the size of the orchestra have swollen to an infected state. read

  • 73 Percent Satisfied With Mediators Work - Survey

    At least 73 per cent of Rwandans are satisfied with the performance of mediation committees, locally known as Abunzi, according to a survey. The survey, jointly conducted by several local and international organisations in partnership with Ministry of Justice, was made public at a roundtable dialogue in Kigali on Thursday. It evaluated the contribution of mediation committees toward enhancing access to justice and conflict resolution in Rwanda. It indicates that there is high level of satisfaction, with at least 73 per cent of respondents contented with the role of mediation committees, though in some areas there was a feeling that some mediators are corrupt. read

  • Schenectady students using peer mediation to solve problems

    At Schenectady High School, students are being trained to be peer mediators. They help other students deal with problems without resorting to violence or bullying. It also allows them to take care of things without going directly to the administration. “They deal with a lot of stressful situations, in the community, in the school and every day we get to come together and try to make it easier on them to come to school,” said Kashiff Thompson, Program Coordinator. “I see a huge difference in people individually and now it's just like the whole school, the result is go to peer mediation,” said Keimani Griffin, a student mediator. read

  • Carol Williams earns state mediation award

    Carol Williams, mediation services coordinator for the 4th Judicial Circuit, received a state merit award for her dedication to education at the 22nd annual Florida Dispute Resolution Center conference. She has worked in the circuit for 22 years, including the past 14 years in the circuit’s mediation department, which trains mediators. Before that she was assistant to the court administrator. The Dispute Resolution Center is part of the Florida Supreme Court. Williams supervises the staff and assistants in the circuit, as well as the volunteers, of which there are currently about 55, she said. Williams also mediates cases in family and county courts. read

  • The Promise and Perils of “Med-Arb”

    When disputing parties tire of mediation (because it is too “weak”) or fear arbitration (because it is too “controlling”), they seek an Alternative Dispute Resolution solution that is “just right.” Recently, I’ve heard a number of highly talented negotiators, and one famous law school, endorse med-arb as the best of all ADR worlds. The advantages, however, come with caveats. read

  • Google Wallet Privacy Dispute Heads To Mediation

    A legal challenge to Google's practice of disclosing information about app purchasers to developers could be settled out of court, according to recent legal documents. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal recently signed an order sending the 2-year-old lawsuit to mediation. Grewal gave Google and the users who are suing until Feb. 6, 2015 to meet with a mediator, who will try to forge a resolution. The move could bring an end to a lawsuit stemming from Google's controversial 2012 changes to its privacy policy. The revised policy allowed Google to combine data about users collected across various platforms, including YouTube and Android. In the past, Google didn't aggregate that data to create marketing profiles. read

  • Oregon foreclosure mediation program averts hundreds of foreclosures, but lenders question value

    August was the busiest month yet for Oregon's foreclosure mediation program, with homeowners and their mortgage servicers meeting nearly 400 times during the month. It's still the case that the vast majority of foreclosures go through without a meeting between homeowner and lender, typically either because the homeowner can't be reached or because they choose not to pay a fee to start the process. But in hundreds of cases that end up in a "resolution conference," homeowners on the brink of foreclosure have reached an agreement with their lender to avoid it. And even those who don't avert a foreclosure overwhelmingly say in surveys that they approve of the program.  read

  • Cotton group introduces mediation to resolve reneged contracts

    The International Cotton Association said it is introducing mediation services to help resolve disputes over reneged contracts that have blocked hundreds of blacklisted firms from doing business. The group, which oversees the global cotton trade, said mediation would be another, speedier tool to resolve disputes, in addition to the current methods of negotiation and arbitration. read

  • SEC to take deeper look at Wall St. arbitration reform plan

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is taking the unusual step of extending its review of a plan to restrict industry veterans from serving as arbitrators in many legal disputes between investors and brokerages, citing questions about whether the proposal complies with securities laws. The plan to revamp how arbitrators are selected was filed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in June and must be approved by the SEC before it becomes a final rule. The plan "raises questions" about whether it is in line with laws that require FINRA rules to protect investors, among other things, the SEC said in a notice published on Wednesday seeking additional input from the public. read

  • Ed FitzGerald records lawsuit should go to mediation, Cuyahoga County urges Ohio Supreme Court

    Cuyahoga County, on behalf of County Executive Ed FitzGerald, has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to assign a court mediator to a suit the Ohio Republican Party filed in an effort to obtain records of FitzGerald coming and going from a county parking garage. The court's decision may figure into whether FitzGerald has to appear Monday for a deposition in the case. As part of the motion, the county asked for a stay in the case while a mediator works with the two sides. A spokesman for the Republican Party said it opposes mediation, describing it as "a shameless attempt to stonewall the public" that should have been sought earlier. read

  • Trial, mediation set in West Palm Beach “chapel” condo spat

    Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Catherine M. Brunson has set trial for January 2015, and has ordered mediation, in the legal challenge by Citizens for Thoughtful Growth to the condominium at the waterfront “Chapel by the Lake” site. Citizens, a neighborhood group, is asking courts to declare that the city of West Palm Beach broke its own rules in January 2014 when it approved the luxury condo. read

  • EnergyBuzz: Arbitration for Energy Disputes

    It's almost 2015; do you know where your arbitration clause is? In the past year, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, the American Arbitration Association and other arbitration forums substantially revised their rules to streamline the process, limit discovery, expressly allowing for dispositive motions and make arbitration more efficient and economical. Although arbitration itself is not new to the energy sector, the proliferation of shale plays due to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracing, coupled with an increase in political and economic volatility, has spawned a surge in complex energy disputes that often cross jurisdictional boundaries. read

September 2014

  • Reimagining Arbitration

    The rapid growth of commercial arbitration has not been without drawbacks. As counsel have become more sophisticated in dispute process design, arbitrations now often incorporate many elements of a court trial. The inevitable consequence of these changes has been increased expense and delay. To preserve the benefits of arbitration, it is necessary to address this issue from several perspectives, starting with the arbitration clause. A thoughtful process usually should include a negotiation or mediation step, reasonable limits on the scope of discovery, overall time limits on the arbitration, and the designation of one rather than three arbitrators whenever possible. read

  • Defusing Office Drama

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

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

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

  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and its musicians agree to mediation

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

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

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

  • Arbitration Clauses Must Be Explicit About Waiver of Suit

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

  • Martin Indyk Describes Collapse of Peace Talks

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

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

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

  • How not to let project disputes escalate

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

  • California Judicial Branch Recommends Divorce Mediation, Not Divorce Court

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

  • Microsoft, Getty copyright dispute heads for mediation

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

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

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

  • Law enforcement finds arbitration imperfect

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

  • Muir Woods Mural Mediation To Start Monday

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

  • Has mediation turned the corner?

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

  • Child abuse case going to mediation

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

  • McIlroy, former management company ordered into mediation

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

  • Divorce, Sanford Style: Social Media and Mediation

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

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

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

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

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

  • Moving Towards Peace Through Ethnic And Religious Conflict Resolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Inside counsel should consider revisiting arbitration clauses

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

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

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

  • Conflict resolvers' ensure peace at gay rugby world cup

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

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

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

  • Future of 4 Valleys Remains Uncertain

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

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

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

  • Resorts mum on mediation

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

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

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

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

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

August 2014

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

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

  • Divorcing? What are the benefits of mediation versus litigation

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

  • Report: 3.7 Million Use Legal Self-Help Centers

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

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

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

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

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

  • UK: Mediation Matters: Unlocking an understanding of mediation

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

  • Judicial race pits defense attorney against mediator

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

  • Preparing for mediation

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

  • Kidnapped American journalist freed in Syria after Qatari mediation

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

  • What Works Best to Help Stop Bullying in Schools?

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

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

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

  • Protecting Self-Determination in Mediation

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

  • Muslim Scholars Suspend Mediation in Case of Abducted Soldiers

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

  • How mediation of patent disputes differs from litigation

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

  • Pre-nuptial Agreements Increasing In the UK

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

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

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

  • Couples should try out mediation

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

  • DIY divorce: Britons pay 30% less to split

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

  • Column: Parent who spanks has empty parenting tool box

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

  • White House Order May Reignite Employment Arbitration Debate

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

  • Global cotton body to speed up dispute settlement process

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

  • Vermont Gas upbeat on pipeline mediation

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

  • Pembroke Pines Mediator Suspended Over Conflicts

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

  • Making the Case for Arbitration

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

  • Is Mediating Prenups a Form of Marital Mediation?

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

  • Robin Williams on Conflict  read

  • Selecting your mediator and drafting the mediation agreement

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


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