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August 2014

  • 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

  • Ireland: Divorcing couples face mandatory counselling to stave off court action

    Couples who want to end their marriage could be forced to take part in mandatory counselling and mediation as part of proposals for a radical overhaul of the family law system being considered by the Government.  The reforms, the most ambitious ever proposed for Ireland’s divorce and separation system, were the brainchild of former Justice Minister Alan Shatter but are now being considered by his successor, Frances Fitzgerald.  At present, separating couples who wish to part without going to court can seek to resolve their issues through the Family Mediation Service (FMS).  The free, confidential service is for married and non-married couples who try to sort out matters such as parenting, financial support and issues relating to the family home and other property.  However, many couples experience huge delays in accessing mediation which, since 2011, has been transferred to the Legal Aid Board.  Delays accessing mediation and free legal advice exacerbates the conflict between many couples enduring separation and divorce. Under the proposals now being considered by Ms Fitzgerald, couples could be forced to engage in mandatory counselling before seeking the intervention of the courts. read

  • Opt for a common-sense divorce

    Trying to get a divorce? Wondering why it’s taking so long and costing so much? Family courts are backlogged because we’ve been conditioned to believe the divorce process has to be both litigious and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be either of those things. If we applied some common sense — putting the beginning of our next chapter ahead of the retaliation we feel for ending the last chapter — it could be a much smoother process. The Ontario government knows that marriage dissolution is a right mess. It’s looking for ways to encourage people to talk it out rationally in order to keep families out of court. That’ll keep more money in people’s pockets too. read

  • Local camp focuses on conflict resolution

    Five Palestinians, five Israelis and five Americans join together in a local camp designed to increase empathy and awareness in the youth. Jack Karn, one of the counselors and camp coordinators, who specializes in leadership training, said there was some tension added to the camp this year. Phones are taken away from campers to control their access to information. "We give them the news at one time during the day," he said. "So they hear the events and the news is collected, trying to get an objective view based on what is going on on the ground." The Leadership Camp, held for 10 days on Acer Farm in West Brattleboro, is a collaboration between Jerusalem PeaceBuilders and Kids4Peace. read

  • Obama strikes a blow against the scourge of forced arbitration

    Little noticed in coverage of President Obama's signing of the Fair Play and Safe Workplaces executive order July 31 was a provision that has been called "one of the most important positive steps for civil rights in the last 20 years."  The statement comes from Paul Bland of the public interest group Public Justice, quoted by Emily Bazelon of Slate. He's right; what he's referring to is a provision of the order that bars employers from forcing workers to bring workplace discrimination, sexual assault or sexual harassment cases only through arbitration. As Bazelon reports, the order applies to firms with federal contracts valued at more than $1 million. But that's plenty. read

  • Taking a Broker to Arbitration

    If you have a problem with your investment broker and you cannot resolve the dispute on your own, you probably won’t get your day in court. But you will be heard, most likely in a conference room somewhere, before a panel of arbitrators. The moment people open a brokerage or investment account, they most likely — and perhaps inadvertently — waive their right to sue. The fine print of most customer agreements almost always contains a clause that says the customer agree to resolve any future disputes through arbitration, largely through the forum operated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization, known as Finra. read

  • IL: Mandatory mediation on tap for foreclosure process

    “What we have here is failure to communicate,” the warden says to a prisoner played by Paul Newman in a scene of the movie “Cool Hand Luke.” In courtroom hearings on foreclosures, Judge Mike Jones often sees exactly that — a failure to communicate — between the homeowner and the bank, he said.  As the primary judge in Champaign County who oversees foreclosure cases, over and over again Jones has watched frustrated homeowners appear before him and say they could not get the same person from the bank on the phone twice, or they gathered up all the documents they were told to get and sent them to the bank, only to be told they were lost or the file was incomplete. Also not uncommon is the lawyer appearing for the bank does not know the status of the foreclosure, nor does he or she have the authority to settle the case, Jones said. Come Oct. 1, Champaign County will join a growing number of counties in Illinois where people facing residential foreclosure will now undergo mandatory mediation. read

  • From The Jerusalem Post: Future US mediation should involve greater regional diplomatic role

    For the sake of reaching a cease-fire in Gaza, and for long-term efforts toward a two-state solution, the US must encourage more regional diplomatic participation. US attempts for a cease-fire in Gaza have been a disaster. Despite working endlessly to incorporate the efforts of regional and European actors, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s hopes of bringing an end to the weeks-long escalation between Israel and Hamas have mercilessly been dashed. Although it has fallen short, the US has chosen the right course. A strategy of encouraging greater participation from these self-appointed Middle Eastern mediators and others represents the surest way the US can expect to broker a cease-fire. read

  • Massachusetts Early Mediation Program Changing the Tax Appeals Landscape

    The Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s new Early Mediation Program (EMP) is off to a very promising start. The EMP expedites the normal appeals process and offers hope to taxpayers that desire to resolve tax disputes without prolonged litigation. The Department indicated at a recent Boston Bar Association meeting that eight of the first 11 cases have resulted in settlements. Commissioner Amy Pittner announced publicly earlier this year that the Department’s goal is that one-third of all eligible disputes will be mediated. read

  • Home Share Now wins award for mediation

    The American College of Civil Trial Mediators, a professional association, recently gave a cash award to Home Share Now for its efforts in home sharing mediation. The award came in support of applying dispute resolution in the alternative setting of facilitated home sharing. Home Share Now has facilitated the sharing of housing, such as by multigenerational housemates, since 2003. The organization said it views conflict resolution as the most important skill necessary for successful home sharing. read

  • Bangalore: Mediation a big success

    Mediation is catching on in the city with more than 60 per cent of all cases referred to the Bangalore Mediation Centre being resolved out of court. The centre, just off KH (Double) Road, handles about a 100 cases every day, according to mediators who volunteer at the centre. As a free alternative to litigation, mediation centres bring relief to an already burdened legislative system. The rules for mediation were framed by the High Court of Karnataka in 2006 and the centre was set up in 2007. Prashanth Chandra, a mediator for seven years and an advocate read

  • Mediation of Insurance Coverage Cases

    Resolving insurance coverage disputes through mediation requires careful assessment of three unique elements: the insurance policy, the rules applicable to the application of the policy and the cases construing the policy. Evaluative mediation provides the best approach for resolving these disputes. It requires parties, counsel and the mediator to evaluate the strength and weaknesses of coverage issues, and it provides for input from the mediator as to possible outcomes of the case. There are also other issues unique to insurance coverage cases that must be addressed in the mediation process. read

  • 10 Tips for a Successful Mediation

    If your company is headed to a mediation, you’re in good company. A recent study of more than 350 Fortune 1000 companies showed that nearly all of them have used mediation in the last three years to resolve a dispute. Compared to other dispute resolution mechanisms, mediation can be attractive for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that you are the master of your own fate and you have the opportunity to resolve matters early on—privately and without the extended costs and risks of litigation.  But successful mediations do not simply happen. Here are 10 tips you can use to increase the likelihood that your mediation is a success. read

  • Gunmen wound Lebanese religious mediators

    Gunmen attacked a delegation of clerics sent to mediate between the Lebanese army and Islamic extremists from neighboring Syria that took over a Lebanese town, wounding a prominent Sunni sheik who then left on Tuesday to be treated at a hospital. Sheik Salem al-Rafei of the Association of Muslim Scholars suffered wounds in the leg during the attack late Monday. The association declined to comment on the results of the mediation but in an apparent gesture of goodwill, militants released three policemen they had been holding captive. read

  • DirecTV CEO says he's open to mediation to resolve Dodgers TV dispute

    Satellite broadcaster DirecTV said it would be open to some sort of mediation to resolve its dispute with Time Warner Cable over carriage of SportsNet LA, the new local TV home for the Dodgers. Speaking to analysts and investors during its second-quarter earnings conference call, DirecTV Chief Executive Mike White said he is "frustrated" with the negotiations with Time Warner Cable, which has distribution rights for the Dodgers-owned channel.  While White's remarks may be seen as cause for optimism for Dodgers fans, he also suggested that the team should be part of any talks. "Without active participation of the Dodgers I'm not sure how you get any resolution to this dispute," White said. read

  • Mediation Perspectives: The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims in Dialogue With the World

    Conflicts with a religious dimension are increasingly commanding global attention and have become a focal point for those working in the field of dialogue and mediation. While the role of religion in conflict is salient, focusing excessively on this relationship runs the risk of losing track of the unifying capacity of religious institutions and the work that is being done by their members to transcend cultural, religious and political boundaries. Against the backdrop of intensifying unrest between Sunni and Shia Islamic communities in many different regions of the world, it is pertinent to remind ourselves of the many initiatives from within these communities to bridge differences. What can we learn from the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslim community regarding the promotion of peaceful co-existence worldwide? read

  • The psychology of mediation

    studies show that an individual’s satisfaction with a court proceeding, arbitration or mediation depend on whether that person perceives the process as “fair.” Parties are more willing to enter into a settlement, and to comply with its terms, if they credit the process as a fair one. Reaching a negotiated result, and then abiding by the agreed-to terms, therefore, may hinge on the parties’ belief that the mediation has been fairly conducted. When evaluating “fairness,” most people ask themselves whether they had a voice in the process. Surprisingly, the actual result is of secondary importance. What people want is the ability to have substantive input into the ultimate decision. read

  • Metropolitan Opera Considers Mediation

    The Metropolitan Opera has proposed bringing in a mediator to facilitate talks with its unions, a move that could delay a lockout that management had threatened for Friday. Opera officials broached the idea in a negotiation session Wednesday with the American Guild of Musical Artists, which represents singers, dancers and stage managers. Union head Alan Gordon said his group would agree to mediation if the unions representing the orchestra and stagehands were on board. read

  • Spectrum doctor's Facebook lawsuit: Mediator chosen; hospital responds

    A mediator has been chosen for a lawsuit filed against Spectrum Health by an emergency room physician whose position was terminated after she made a comment on Facebook, according to a statement filed in U.S. District Court. Dr. Catherine Puetz filed the lawsuit March 14, saying she was abruptly let go and wrongfully accused of a HIPAA violation after she and other employees made comments online about a photo posted on Facebook. She accuses Spectrum of “defamation, false light invasion of privacy, breach of contract/covenant and tortious interference with business expectancy.” Also named in the suit are Kevin Splaine, the president of Spectrum Health Hospitals, and Jeanne Roode, director of emergency, trauma and neuroscience services. read

  • Why mediation is a model for problem solving

    About eleven years ago, I was experiencing a life transition and thought it would be a great time to connect with the local community dispute resolution program. The exploration brought me to The Dispute Resolution Center in Ann Arbor, where a community of mediators worked together to provide an alternative approach to problem solving instead of going to court. What I found was a rich and engaged community of mediators committed to helping people problem solve and committed to making the DRC a vibrant, viable, and reliable choice for dispute resolution. read

  • Judge orders sexual abuse victims, Milwaukee archdiocese to mediation in bankruptcy case

    A federal judge said Wednesday that she would send the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's bankruptcy case to mediation. Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley said she considers mediation the best bet for resolving the hard-fought, three-year-long case. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2011, saying it would not have the money to pay if it lost lawsuits filed on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse. More than 500 abuse victims have since filed claims in bankruptcy court. The mediation will involve attorneys for the archdiocese, sexual abuse victims and others owed money by the archdiocese. A previous attempt at mediation in 2012 failed. Kelley agreed to mediation before hearing arguments over whether the archdiocese should pay attorneys' legal fees now or later. read

  • “To See Ourselves as Others See Us”: The surprising potential of Online Dispute Resolution

    Many of us have been hearing about Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for years but haven’t quite got round to using it. It sounds like a nice idea when face-to-face mediation isn’t an option through distance and/or cost. And yet I suspect that for most mediators the ‘gold standard’ is being in the same room as our clients. We can see people, hear them, feel the emotional temperature; we can also speak, use our eyes, use our hands; even jump to our feet when things get stuck. A small screen, by contrast, seems flat, miniature and limited. However, if precedent is anything to go by, it would be foolish to bet against the forward march of technology. read

  • Judge Orders Mediation for SpaceX, US Air Force

    A federal judge has asked the U.S. Air Force and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to try mediation to resolve a lawsuit over the service’s $11 billion order of rockets from SpaceX-rival United Launch Alliance. SpaceX filed the lawsuit April 28, asking the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to void a large portion of the deal, under which the Air Force ordered 36 rocket cores from ULA on a sole-source basis. The U.S. Department of Justice, representing the Air Force, has asked the court to dismiss the case. But Judge Susan Braden on July 24 directed the two sides to explore a third alternative: mediation. Braden asked SpaceX to provide, by Sept. 10, a list of proposed issues for mediation, potential mediators and a timetable. The Air Force will then have until Oct. 14 to determine whether SpaceX’s proposed terms for mediation are acceptable. read

  • Five mediation secrets can change life

    I’ve been a lawyer for almost 30 years and a mediator since 1990. I’ve learned how to help resolve people’s problems, getting them not only what they say they want, but what they really want and aren’t telling me. I have five secrets that have changed my life and those of the people I work and play with. I’ll let you in on these secrets. Use them wisely. They are powerful tools. read

July 2014

  • Big Risks and Disadvantages of Arbitration vs. Litigation

    Three recent high-profile arbitral awards highlight the risks of arbitration and demonstrate that, contrary to widespread belief, arbitration is often not cheaper, faster or more predictable than litigation. These three awards, as well as emerging trends in arbitral proceedings, call into question the common practice among corporations of including contractual provisions mandating arbitration in the event of any disputes. read

  • UK It's time to get serious about arbitration

    It’s time to face the facts. The UK coalition government’s obsession with mediation has failed. It is now time to get serious about an alternative which has been overlooked for too long: arbitration. The family courts are overcrowded. A huge number of people seeking a divorce, or the right to see their children have put a significant strain on the system. The government’s solution? Get more people to choose mediation. In an attempt to prove its effectiveness, the government’s action on the issue has proved the opposite: mediation is not the answer. read

  • Privatization of justice & "Sharia courts" 

    The apex court in its landmark decision on 7th July, 2014 held that sharia courts are not courts as Indian legal does not recognize a parallel judicial system. But then is it not a fact that privatization of justice is fact of life not only in India but in most developed countries? Does our law not recognize arbitration and other alternative methods of dispute resolution? Are not sharia courts and fatwas different and therefore should not be clubbed together? What has been the performance of sharia courts in last 94 years? Has not the latest decision given new lease of life to the sharia courts? read

  • Divorcing Parents: 10 Questions to Ask Before Fighting Over the Kids

    Divorce attorney Larry Sarezky has created a short film to stop divorcing parents from engaging in high-conflict custody battles for the sake of the kids. I saw the film, Talk to Strangers, and was dramatically impacted by its message. Larry also provides ten questions divorcing parents should ask themselves before fighting over the kids in court. His years of experience have shown him the consequences for the children involved -- effects they'll experience on a life-long basis. Here are Larry's 10 questions, along with his opening comments about high conflict divorce. read

  • India: Mediation to settle the trouble in family

    Over 20,000 cases related to family disputes have been settled in Bangalore with the help of a third party mediator over the last 7 years.  
    1. Total no: of cases referred to mediation: 35784
    2. Total no: of cases mediated: 27915
    3. Total cases not mediated and returned: 5864
    4. Total cases mediated and settled: 20534 read

  • Can we change the mediation paradigm from voluntary to mandatory?

    I have just returned from an enjoyable but hectic visit to the United States. During my stay, I took some time to read up on the family law situation both in the US and north of the border in Canada. It is always intriguing to see such familiar family law touchstones as legal aid and mediation in a completely different context. read

  • Afghanistan election commission welcomes UN mediation

    Welcoming an agreement between the two top candidates brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations, Afghanistan’s election commission hopes to finish an audit of 23,000 polling stations within three weeks. Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani, chairman of the Independent Election Commission, told reporters Sunday that the commission is ready to start auditing all 8 million votes cast in the June 14 presidential runoff as soon as possible. Nouristani said after training auditors, the audit can begin in the presence of representatives from both candidates as well as national and international observers. The Kerry-brokered deal Saturday night for a full ballot audit offers a path out of political crisis for Afghanistan. Both candidates had claimed victory and were talking of setting up competing governments. read

  • Judge Orders Mediation in US Rep. Sanford Divorce

    A South Carolina Family Court judge has ordered U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford and his ex-wife, Jenny, to work with a mediator to resolve a dispute over money for their two youngest sons. The two appeared in court in Charleston on Monday. The issue is trust funds for the couple's two youngest boys. Their divorce agreement four years ago said the couple would try to work together to equalize the amount in the boys' trust funds so it's comparable with what was put in their older two boys' accounts at the time. read

  • Reality TV Discovers Mediation

    Remember when we used to lament the fact that there were no mediation tv shows? Well we had Fairly Legal which was farcically formulaic and often a bit silly. Now we have Untying the Knot, a new reality series on the Bravo network. The show follows New Jersey divorce attorney-mediator Vikki Ziegler as she “mediates” property division issues for divorcing couples. The reason for the quotes? Here’s why: read

  • UC Davis Strawberry Breeding Program Mediation Continues

    The California Strawberry Commission filed a lawsuit against UC Davis in October 2013 regarding its acclaimed strawberry breeding program. The commission expressed concern that the university was planning to end its breeding program. In April 2014, following months of meetings with the strawberry commission, the university filed a motion with the Alameda County Superior Court, asking that the lawsuit be dismissed as meritless. The university has assured the commission and other stakeholders that it is continuing the public breeding program, maintaining duplicate copies of each plant in the breeding program and recruiting for a new breeder with advanced genomic skills to join the program. read

  • Bloomingdale Big Box Development Gets Green Light As Mediation Reaches Agreement

    The outcome of the much anticipated judge-ordered mediation process, following a law suit filed by the Bloomingdale community against Hillsborough County and developer Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC, turned out to be a bitter pill to swallow for residents this month.  The disappointment came in a statement to residents by Coordinated Active Neighborhoods for Development Organization (Can-Do), which has taken the role of representing the community. In joining Plaintiff Fred Brown, Bloomingdale Can-Do and its officers have resolved all claims against Hillsborough County and developer Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC. After several rounds of meetings with representatives from Red Cast Bloomingdale LLC and Hillsborough County, Brown and the officers of Can-Do acknowledge that the project has the potential to enhance the neighborhood and surrounding community. The developer has shown a willingness to cooperate and listen to the community’s concerns. read

  • Is Your Arbitration Clause Outmoded?

    Although arbitration is a “creature of contract” and many arbitrations proceed in the manner outlined in the arbitration clause, it is not unusual for the parties and their counsel to alter the terms of the original clause to suit the dispute at hand. Often a dispute has arisen years after the arbitration clause was drafted, and circumstances have changed. The clause may no longer be appropriate. Although the parties and their lawyers may have strong disagreements on the merits of the case, they understand that stipulating to a customized process that suits the dispute is a huge benefit to everyone involved. This flexibility is one of the strong points of the arbitration process. The following suggestions are just a few of the ways to alter an outmoded clause: read

  • Martin County, Jupiter Island officials met for mediation over dredging dispute

    Sand is big business in Martin County. However, for people who live in the highly affluent community of Jupiter Island it can make or break their property values. It's also at the center of a debate that has raged for years between the county and the town which could end with a lawsuit. On Wednesday, county and town officials met for mediation. The two sides are at odds over the dredging of the St. Lucie inlet. read

  • De Mistura Reportedly to Succeed Brahimi as UN Syria Mediator

    Veteran United Nations official Staffan de Mistura, a former U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan and Iraq, will replace Lakhdar Brahimi as the international mediator seeking an end to Syria's civil war, diplomats said on Wednesday. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters later on Wednesday that consultations were still continuing on the appointment and he hoped to make an announcement “very soon.” read

  • Early mediation: the sooner the better?

    Time was, a lawyer looked forward to each new lawsuit as promising & enticing vistas of endless litigation.  More recently, however, the mantra has become "how soon can we resolve this?"  The benefits of mediation; cost effectiveness, certainty of outcome and the parties' ultimate control over the process; are well recognized.  The focus has recently shifted from "whether" to mediate to "when." read

  • Mediation and Mindfulness

    Mindfulness has recently caught the popular imagination as a way to counter the stress of everyday life. Mediation has also caught on, as a way to minimise the suffering (both human and financial) caused by workplace conflict. On the surface, mindfulness and workplace mediation are very different: the former is most often considered a silent, solitary practice aimed at self-development; the latter typically involves a conversation between at least two parties and a mediator, and its aim is business improvement. Nevertheless, by placing these two practices side by side, we find some striking parallels and far-reaching implications as to where responsibility for conflict management lies. Jon Kabat-Zinn – probably the person most associated with the spread of mindfulness in the West – defines it as “the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment without judgement”. I will take each of the elements of his definition in turn. read

  • 'Big Short' Case Raises Questions About Finra Arbitration

    Deeb Salem, the former Goldman Sachs trader who helped devise the firm’s brilliant and highly profitable proprietary bet against the mortgage market, has never been shy about trumpeting his accomplishments. Mr. Salem no longer works at Goldman — he decamped to GoldenTree Asset Management, a New York hedge fund, in 2012 — but his continuing lawsuit, which contends the firm shortchanged him about $21 million in bonus and deferred compensation during the years after the financial crisis, raises fresh questions about the fairness of Wall Street’s compensation practices, its willingness to make scapegoats out of former employees and the arbitration system — run by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority — that everyone who deals with Wall Street is forced to use to resolve monetary disputes. read

  • How Consumers are Getting Screwed by Court-Enforced Arbitration

    The Supreme Court has given financial institutions and employers a license to do wrong—and it’s hitting the poor especially hard. For more than forty years, the Supreme Court’s conservatives have been engaged in a campaign to shut the courthouse door to consumers, working people, small businesses and others seeking redress for corporate wrongdoing. In recent years, and especially since Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito joined the Court, a major weapon in this campaign has been the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) of 1925. The conservatives have used the act to prevent victims of such abuses from seeking redress in the courts, forcing them into pre-dispute arbitration instead. In doing so, they lose a public trial, a jury and a neutral judge, as well as an appeal to a higher court; in many cases they may also have to give up discovery rights. It is not uncommon for them to wind up before an arbitrator who is dependent upon the defendant’s business community for work and fees, and who may not even be legally trained. Not surprisingly, those forced into arbitration almost always fare much worse than they would in court. read

  • Argentina says to meet debt mediator again on Friday

    Argentine officials will meet again with a mediator appointed by a U.S. court on Friday to try to resolve its legal battle with hedge funds suing for full repayment of defaulted sovereign bonds, the government said on Tuesday. President Cristina Fernandez's government has until July 30 to reach a deal with the funds in a dispute that has pushed Latin America's No. 3 economy to the brink of its second debt default in 12 years. read

  • AU: Mediation service hopes to ease pain of divorce

    Bitter and costly court battles between warring former spouses could be minimised thanks to a new family mediation service being trialled at Queensland University of Technology health clinics.  Its aim, QUT family dispute Resolution Practitioner Jennifer Felton said, is to minimise the damage caused to children caught between divorcing parents by cutting down on time spent squabbling before a magistrate. She said negotiations before a qualified mediator gave former couples the opportunity to rationally resolve problems arising from their separation, without the added stress of doing it in a courtroom. "Mediation and family dispute resolution is increasingly used in Australia and offers a much more beneficial way of parents making decisions than using the legal system to argue against each other," she said. read

  • Mediation Forture Cookies? read

  • Mediator announces GM payments for crash victims

    A plan developed by attorney Kenneth Feinberg on behalf of General Motors (GM) to provide compensation for people killed in accidents caused by faulty ignition switches in some of the automaker's vehicles will offer claimants at least $1 million, plus other payouts. Under guidelines for the so-called compensation protocol announced by Feinberg on Monday, families will be offered $1 million for the death of the victim, plus $300,000 for the surviving spouse and $300,000 for each of the victim's surviving dependents. Those payments are intended to cover "non-economic" losses, such as for emotional distress. read

  • Canada: Undergoing mediation? Both parties may be eligible for family lawyers

    Separating couples who choose mediation may now both be eligible for legal aid family lawyers as Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) expands its pilot province-wide. Starting July 3, when one of the mediation clients is financially eligible for a lawyer, the other mediation client may also be eligible, as long as they earn up to a maximum of $50,000. This new service, which began as a pilot in select locations in February 2014, has LAO covering the cost of a family lawyer for up to six hours of support and advice for financially eligible clients participating in mediation. Clients can receive advice about the process before starting a mediation, assistance in preparing for the mediation and legal advice after the mediation to help them understand their rights and obligations under the mediated agreement. The lawyer can also assist with obtaining a court order or binding agreement based on the terms of the mediated agreement. read

  • New Oregon program allows mediation for medical errors instead of suing

    A mediation program spearheaded by Gov. John Kitzhaber went into effect Tuesday, giving patients and their families an option besides suing when medical errors happen. But questions remain over how the mediation program will develop, including whether hospitals, doctors and other providers will take advantage of the program, or candidly discuss errors if they do. The result of a compromise between trial lawyers and the Oregon Medical Association approved in SB 483 last year, the Early Discussion and Resolution program is intended to cut down on lawsuits and boost the reporting of medical errors to help improve health care practices. Any patient or direct family member can use the law to file a notice over an incident in which someone has been seriously injured or died from medical care. The notice triggers what is intended to be a confidential discussion in which a provider or health care facility can even offer an apology or financial settlement. The two sides can use a mediator to come to some sort of settlement. If that is not successful, the patient or their family can sue. read

  • Hawaii Governor Signs Public Land Valuation Mediation Bill

    On Tuesday, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed House Bill 1823 into law. The measure requires mediation in disputes regarding the fair market value or fair market rental of public lands and provides for binding arbitration in the event of unsuccessful mediation. During the ceremony held at the Hilo Yacht Club, the governor said that as the Big Island grows, the question of fair market public land value is a pertinent one, and “not easily subject to appraisals” because “criteria can vary.” The Governor continued: “Its not exactly ho’oponopono, but it certainly is a child of that concept. That we talk things over first, and then if its still in a situation where arbitration comes into the picture, than so be it. This is an excellent opportunity for us to recreate a sense of conversation rather than confrontation.” read

  • Want to require an arbitration agreement? That’s fine as long as it’s fair to employees

    Here’s some good news for employers that want to use arbitration as a way to resolve employment disputes instead of relying on federal or state courts: Imposing a fair arbitration policy on applicants as a condition of employment is fine. Once the applicant “takes” the take-it-or-leave-it arbitration agreement by accepting the job after having a chance to review it, she’s stuck with it. read

June 2014

  • Francisco Lorite Receives 2014 Imagen Award Nomination for "Mediation" with Freddy Rodriguez

    Award-winning filmmaker Francisco Lorite has received a 2014 “Best Theatrical Short" Imagen Award nomination for his short film entitled “Mediation.” The Imagen Awards are given annually by the Imagen Foundation to recognize and reward the positive portrayal of Latinos in all media, as well as to honor the achievements of Latinos in the entertainment and communications industries. "Mediation" is the first project released by the brand new Film/TV production company entitled Top Rebel Productions - the brainchild of Francisco Lorite, actor Freddy Rodríguez (“Six Feet Under”, "Night Shift”) and veteran producer Bill Winett. The short tells the story of a divorce mediation that spirals completely out of control for a husband (Freddy Rodriguez), his soon-to-be ex-wife (Marley Shelton) and their court-appointed mediator (Lola Anthony). read

  • Target lawyer suggests mediation for resolving data breach lawsuits

    More than 140 lawsuits related to the Target data breach are inching through the courts, but now there's talk of resolving them in a quicker and quieter way, an attorney for Target indicated Wednesday. In a federal courtroom in St. Paul, attorney Wendy Wildung, representing Minneapolis-based Target, told District Judge Paul Magnuson that Target is considering "the possibility of an early case resolution" for the data-breach lawsuits. She mentioned an Aug. 11 mediation meeting. If the mediation path ultimately proves successful, it could short-circuit the need for public trials related to Target's data breach -- and provide a confidential resolution for Target, which has already suffered a huge black eye with the public. read

  • Mediation: A Different Kind of Conversation

    Two weeks ago, I spent four full days in training to become a volunteer mediator with the Community Dispute Resolution Center (“CDRC”). The experience was fascinating and superb, and I look forward to the next steps in my training for certification to begin actual mediation. While I have much to say in praise of both mediation and the process by which CDRC trains its mediators, this column will focus on some of the important differences between mediation and litigation, and the possibilities that those differences offer for approaching human conflict in a more empowering way.  read

  • Can Iran's Diplomatic Status Change from Meddler to Mediator?

    The consistent rhetoric from Washington and its allies has been that Iran meddles in its neighbors’ affairs by sponsoring overseas terrorism –whether it be in supporting Hezbollah, targeting Israelis abroad or trying to stir up turmoil in the Middle East. But this is not a narrative you hear much of these days. Secretary of State John Kerry signaled a shift in attitude earlier this week, recognizing that Iran could play a crucial role in helping to quell Iraq’s violence. However, there are significant hurdles to overcome before Iran’s diplomatic reputation can change from meddler to mediator. read

  • Shaping the Rule of Law, Trust And Resolution in The Online Justice System

    The changes resulting from the rise of the Internet are taking hold, and the legal community has yet to catch up to the way the world is now interacting. Bringing the rule of law online will be an essential part of determining how we shape the future of global normative behavior and present an opportunity to redefine what we believe to be the right way to act, based not only on the multiplicity of laws as they stand, but rather based on a new organic democracy that will define itself in an harmonized way. The ability to negotiate, reach consensus, and resolve disputes online will be an essential set of skills for all who participate. read

  • Shanghai mediation service offers cure for patient-hospital disputes

    Shanghai's introduction of a mediation service to resolve patient-hospital disputes before they lead to lawsuits or even violence seems to be easing strains in the system, city authorities said. Almost 7,000 cases were heard in the first 30 months of the program, 82 percent of them with successful outcomes. In the first quarter of this year alone, mediation offices handled 855 cases, a 20 percent increase from last year, and 517 of them resulted in settlements involving nearly 25 million yuan (US$4 million) in compensation. "Mediation is free and fast, while litigation can be expensive and drawn-out," said Zhang Jie, a lawyer and experienced mediator in Shanghai. read

  • How Mediation Can Help Resolve a Technology Dispute

    It may take all day (and sometimes all night) but more often than not the mediator is successful. This may be because the very fact that parties have agreed to mediate in the first place means a settlement is more likely. It may be because if you sit senior executives in a room for long enough they will want to do a deal just so they can escape. But whatever the reason, mediation works. Talk to any mediator and they will be justifiably proud of their success rate. Mediation is cheaper than litigation, more flexible in terms of the range of outcomes open to the parties to agree and it's confidential. What's not to like? read

  • Conflict Mediation Through Sport

    This week, the world’s attention will refocus from domestic issues to the international stage of the World Cup in Brazil. While domestic Israeli politics never has a dull moment, today we bring you a story about the Italian football superclub “FC Inter Milan” and the social work they recently completed in Israel/Palestine. The initiative is called “Inter Campus”. On the website they write: “Since 1997, Inter Campus has implemented a flexible and long-term social and cooperation programme in 25 foreign countries, assisted by 200 local instructors. The aim of the programme is to use the game of football as an educational tool to restore the right to play to 10,000 needy children.” The program in Israel/Palestine brought together Israeli Jews, Palestinians, and African Refugees to compete, train, and play together. read

  • Besieged Iraqi forces in Tal-Afar seek tribal mediation to escape ISIS

    The Iraqi army, besieged for days in the Iraqi airport of Tal-Afar, are seeking tribal mediation with ISIS to enable them to leave their positions safely, Anadolu news agency said yesterday. According to an officer, the army has been seeking a tribal mediation with ISIS in order to reach a "truce that guarantees them safe departure". He did not mention any details. read

  • ADR may put courts out of (small) business

    In light of the continued fall in court cases and the rising use of ADR, is there a future for our courts in Scotland? Should the decline we have seen over the past four years continue, then by 2020 the Scottish Courts will very much be the minority player in the resolution of disputes in Scotland. There will, of course, always be the need for the courts for certain cases and parties. It does appear, however, that their role will become increasingly specialised and will only deal with the high end, complex disputes involving multi-million sums. read

  • Law Shielding Mediation Communications Doesn't Make Malpractice Claim Unprovable

    A malpractice plaintiff who says his lawyer steered him into an inadequate settlement may be able to plead and prove his claim even though he is statutorily prohibited from disclosing the terms of the purportedly inadequate settlement or any communications that occurred during mediation, the Oregon Court of Appeals held June 11 (Alfieri v. Soloman).  A trial judge dismissed the case with prejudice after finding that Oregon's mediation confidentiality statute barred the plaintiff from disclosing three categories of information essential to proving damages: 1) the terms of the underlying settlement; 2) any “mediation communications,” including the lawyer's advice after the mediation conference but before the settlement was signed; and 3) post-signing communications in which the lawyer failed to inform the client that the other party's noncompliance with certain settlement terms called into question the enforceability of the agreement.  The appeals court said that while the first two categories of information were properly struck from the complaint, the post-settlement discussions were not covered by the confidentiality statute. read

  • Brooklyn judge asked to discard his own mediator

    The Brooklyn judge deciding whether to disqualify certain scorers who evaluated proposals to purchase Long Island College Hospital is being asked to discard one of his own mediators. read

  • Airport board 'can mediate in good faith' on ex-director's discrimination complaint

    The director of the Charleston County Aviation Authority said mediation is a possibility in the gender discrimination complaint filed by the former director of the county's three airports. "We can certainly mediate in good faith," said Airports Director Paul Campbell. "We want something that allows us to run the airport in a cost-effective manner." The resolution to the nearly year-old dispute with ex-airports Director Sue Stevens does not have to involve money entirely, Aviation Authority Chairman Andy Savage added. He did not elaborate. read

  • Court Must Mediate in Cases Involving Children

    New Iowa Legislature-mandated mediation guidelines for court cases involving children will take effect next month. If you have a dissolution of marriage or a domestic relations case involving children, you'll be ordered to go through mediation to try and mediate the issues. Previously, mediation didn't happen unless the parties involved in the case did it on their own. There will be a mediator roster provided to the parties and they will choose their own." The mediator will then file a report saying whether it's been successful or not. Statistically, it's been proven that the parties in these cases are happier that they're a part of the outcome as opposed to going to trial. read

  • New mediation date set for Hope Mills and builders of Hope Mills Lake dam

    A mediation date of July 9 was set Monday in a lawsuit filed by the town against the designers and builders of the failed Hope Mills Lake dam.  In a related matter, the judge said he would decide later on whether the town is required to release documents to Crowder Construction, one of the defendants in the case.  Morphis said Crowder wants emails and other communication regarding a settlement the town reached with Mosher Engineering, another of the defendants.  The town filed suit in October 2012 over the $14 million dam, which failed in June 2010. It seeks more than $10 million in repair costs. read

  • Norwegian Oil Industry Faces Mediation to Avoid Output Halt

    Norwegian oil workers and employers will start mediation talks tomorrow to bridge differences and avoid a strike that threatens to halt about 115,000 barrels of oil a day. The mediation deadline is set for midnight tomorrow and involves two unions that broke off wage talks last month over pensions, according to the parties involved. Talks frequently run beyond the deadline. “We naturally hope for a solution,” Sverre Simen Hov, a spokesman for the Norwegian Organization of Managers and Executives, said by phone on June 13. It’s “very difficult” to predict the outcome, he said. read

  • Mediation on rise in matrimonial cases

    The cost of a divorce or separation through mediation is typically 50 percent less and takes about half the time of a traditional court proceeding. Ultimately, 95 percent of such court cases end with a settlement anyway! Mediators discuss the benefits of mediation for many families. read

  • Mediation speeds Franklin County property-tax challenges

    A mediation program designed to handle routine property-value challenges has been so successful that Franklin County officials say it could clear up a backlog of sometimes-years-old complaints by early next year. The program, the first of its kind in the state, allows homeowners to challenge the value that the auditor’s office sets for their property without having to go through the more traditional, formal hearing process before the county’s board of revision. Most of the cases are decided over the phone in a conference call with the property owner, a representative of the auditor’s office and an independent, third-party mediator. read

  • Mediation session agreed by umpires, cricket association

    THE Warrnambool Cricket Umpires’ Association (WCUA) has had a minor win in its bid to retain control of umpiring appointments and development in the region. WCUA officials revealed they had secured a mediation session with the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association (WDCA) over a dispute stretching back to April. The two organisations have been at loggerheads since the WDCA announced it would seize control of the management and training of umpires. read

  • Donetsk People's Republic ready for talks with Ukraine with Russia's mediation

    Donetsk People's Republic is ready to have negotiations with Ukraine, but only with Russia's mediation, Denis Pushilin, chairman of the Supreme Council of the Donetsk People's Republic, said. read

  • Israel Stops Wealthy Palestinian Mediator Masri From Gaza Entry

    Israeli border guards barred Munib R. Masri, one of the wealthiest Palestinians, from entering the Gaza Strip after he helped broker the unity agreement aimed at healing the Palestinian Authority’s rift with Hamas. Masri, chairman of Palestine Development & Investment Co., said he was blocked from entering Gaza by military order after waiting more than two hours at an Israeli crossing point. A spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration, which runs the heavily guarded facility, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by phone, e-mail and text message. “It’s the first time this happened to me,” said Masri, 80, who said he has been shuttling between Gaza and the West Bank for seven years, trying to bridge the hostile conflict between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas leaders who rule Gaza. read

  • Churches launch protester, APD mediation efforts

    There’s a new plan to help keep the peace amidst the controversy over Albuquerque Police Department shootings and it involves local churches. The church leaders behind the movement say they’re worried the protests are getting out of control and now they’re hoping to bridge the gap between police and the community. read

  • In South Sudan Conflict, China Tests Its Mediation Skills

    Driven by commercial interests, China is taking the unusual step of mediating between rival South Sudanese factions. As mediators try yet again to jumpstart stalled peace talks between warring factions in South Sudan, the world will get to see China playing an unfamiliar role: that of lead mediator in another country’s internal conflict. Usually, China’s insistence on non-interference in others’ affairs prevents it from taking such steps, but China’s unique interests in South Sudan have called for a different tactic. read

  • Seasoned Minnesota mediator finds joy in finding the common ground

    On the surface, the PolyMet mining hearings that took place over the winter in northern Minnesota and St. Paul presented a clash of immovable ideas -- the revitalization of a dormant mill promising a generations of good jobs versus the possibility of hundreds of years of water pollution. But digging below, one could find a myriad of subtleties -- gray areas on which both sides could agree, or disagree. The challenge for the moment was not to find a resolution that either would advance or doom the project, it was finding a way for all the voices to be heard. read

  • Bob Buckley: Arbitration favors the deep pockets, not you

    A number of years ago, large corporations discovered that there was a legal way of depriving consumers and employees of their constitutional right to a trial by jury. It is called “alternative dispute resolution,” which is just another way of stating that the little guy is not getting a full measure of justice. How many times do you sign an agreement that provides for arbitration in the event there is a dispute? Many consumer agreements today regarding phone service, cable television service, car sales, or even your employment agreement have arbitration provisions to which you have “agreed.” It's not like you have any negotiating power, because if every service provider dictates it there is no option. read

  • Mediation suggested for Carlile in park incident

    Leisa Carlile, a former candidate in the Republican primary for county executive, was in a Putnam County courtroom yesterday to face charges of disorderly conduct after the Cookeville Police Department responded to a fight involving juveniles in Dogwood Park. She pled not guilty and will be in court again on July 3, according to attorney Shawn Fry. He said Judge John Hudson suggested mediation. “She’s agreeable to going to mediation,” Fry said. However, everyone has to be agreeable to mediation. A judge can suggest mediation, but the judge cannot require parties to enter into mediation. Carlile was the only adult charged in the incident. There was a video of part of the incident, which Carlile had allegedly posted to Facebook and had sparked a number of comments on social media. read

  • Your Contract Might Be Useless Without an Arbitration Clause

    You are vulnerable without an arbitration clause in your contracts and it could prove to be devastating. Contracts are relatively useless if you cannot enforce them without too much hassle; enforcing them through litigation may be too costly and time-consuming to be practical. An "arbitration clause" is simply a provision in a contract that requires the parties to resolve disputes through private arbitration rather than litigating them in court. These clauses have become very popular of late since we live in a litigious society where often a breach of contract leads to one of the parties filing a lawsuit. Most people do not realize how costly and time-consuming it typically is to use the courts to enforce contracts. read

  • Crimea Calls for International Mediation, Peaceful Conflict Resolution in Ukraine

    SIMFEROPOL, June 2 (RIA Novosti) — Crimea's state council called on Ukrainian authorities Wednesday to stop bloodshed immediately in the southeast of Ukraine, withdraw armed forces from the hostile regions, and involve international intermediaries, including Russian, to settle the conflict in the country. "The State Council of the Republic of Crimea declares: only immediate cease of bloodshed, the withdrawal of armed forces from the regions of military action, and involvement of international mediators, including from the Russian Federation, for peaceful settlement of the conflict may become the starting point for the stabilization of the situation in the south-east of Ukraine," said in the local parliament statement, which was approved by 79 out of the present 80 lawmakers. read

  • Feuding Chapin Council leaning toward mediation

    CHAPIN, SC — Chapin Town Council might resort to professional mediators to help members get along. Three of the five members did not object to controversial Mayor Skip Wilson's suggestion at Tuesday night's meeting. "This is an opportunity for the council to show the town residents and the businesses we're serious" about working together, Wilson said. "It seems that we can't do this on our own." Councilwomen Bibi Atkins and Kay Hollis placed conditions on their participation in the as yet unscheduled sessions at Midlands Mediation Center. read

  • Colorado pushes mediation as solution to HOA disputes

    Disputes between community associations and homeowners, not to mention among neighbors in a community, too often have a tendency to start small and blow up into huge messes. "Most of these conflicts are emotion-based," said Robyn McDonald, president of the Mediation Association of Colorado. "People feel they are not being heard." The Colorado HOA Information Office hosted a forum on alternative dispute resolution Wednesday in Denver, and some attending shared stories of costly and long-running battles they wished had been nipped in the bud early. Although they can involve serious matters, like resolving a construction defect or illegal activity, many disputes center around what those in the HOA world call the big P's: partying, painting, pet poop, parking and more recently in Colorado, pot. "A lot of these cases are clogging up the courts," said Gary Kujawski, the state's HOA information officer. To avoid that, Colorado for years has encouraged alternative dispute resolution and back in 2007 required common-interest communities to adopt written policies outlining how that takes place. read

  • Big-Business influence: Madonnna, jury trials and mandatory arbitration

    Madonna made news recently when she got a doctor’s note to avoid jury duty. The material girl’s no-show was not meant to be a statement about the often-futile system of civil justice in America, but it might as well have been. The influence of big business on our Supreme Court and elected officials over the years has resulted in a reality that civil “justice” is a joke, particularly for consumers and most employees. Our “right” to go to court has been virtually eliminated and in its place, the process of binding arbitration now resolves most consumer, employment, anti-trust, and civil rights disputes. Arbitration has virtually eliminated an aggrieved person’s right to go to court and seek justice. read

  • Diego Cordovez, U.N. Envoy and Conflict Mediator, Dies at 78

    Diego Cordovez, an Ecuadorean diplomat who, as a United Nations under secretary general, negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the 1980s, died on Saturday in Quito, Ecuador. He was 78. Mr. Cordovez mediated many international conflicts, but he was particularly proud of his success in the Afghan effort.  Mr. Cordovez had a reputation as a tenacious and resourceful diplomat and negotiator who knew the value of humor in carrying out thorny international negotiations.  In describing his quest for a resolution in Afghanistan, The Economist magazine in 1988 called Mr. Cordovez “the world’s most patient man,” adding that his sense of humor and talent for mimicry had “defused many a tense moment.”  read

  • Ian’s mediation role celebrated on canvas

    Facilitating talks between the Orange Order and Garvaghy Road residents is not something many people would associate with local man Ian Milne, who is probably best known in his role as a funeral director. However, another side to the Portadown businessman has been revealed with the launch of an exhibition featuring people who work quietly in the background to promote peace and reconciliation. Ian is one of 32 people featured in ‘Quiet Peacemakers’ by artist Susan Hughes, and an accompanying book of the same name, launched at an event in Stormont’s Long Gallery. The father-of-three’s interest in mediation developed with the start of the Drumcree dispute in the mid-1990s, when he and Peter Quinn, former president of the GAA, facilitated talks between the Orange Order and residents. He also facilitated talks between both groups and the Prime Minister Tony Blair in an effort to reach a solution. read

  • Family in court over basketball hope for mediation

    A family whose neighbors have taken a court action stopping them from playing basketball in their back garden say they are hopeful mediation can resolve the bitter dispute. Michael and Dawn Thompson, from Temple Manor Court in Walkinstown, Dublin, say their three teenage children are "very upset" after a neighbor brought a noise pollution case to the district court. Mark Burke, who founded and directs IT recruitment firm Hook Head, lives next door to the Thompsons in a semi-detached house and has told the family that their playing is persistent and interfering with his living and that his concerns are shared by other neighbors.  read

  • Mars Hill Leaders May Enter Mediation with Group of 20 Former Pastors

    There may be some movement on the request from 20 former Mars Hill pastors to mediate differences with current leadership. One church representative summarized: "Many months ago, “the 20 elders” sent a letter to the Executive Elders of MHC along with the BOAA requesting mediation for the outstanding issues and unrepentant sin. It has been a slow process but there is finally movement. An outside company has been hired to mediate the issues at hand. I am hopeful that all sides can be heard, sin can be repented of and that an entire culture can be changed." read

  • New Zealand: Mediation for foreign-trained doctors

    The Human Rights Commission says mediation will be attempted in a bid to resolve a dispute involving a group of foreign-trained doctors. About 40 doctors have passed exams enabling them to work in New Zealand, but are struggling to get first-year hospital jobs. Doctors from countries with different health systems must pass an exam before being able to apply for the vital training jobs. They complained that they are excluded from applying amid pressure for the jobs from a growing number of New Zealand medical graduates. The commission will say only that it will facilitate a confidential mediation process. read


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