Mediation in Today's News

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July 2013
7/11
Waco: Mediation Ordered In BU Alumni Building Dispute

Lawyers for a Baylor University alumnus were in U.S. District Court Wednesday in Waco asking a judge to prevent Baylor from demolishing the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center to make way for a pedestrian bridge across the Brazos River that will connect the campus to the school’s new football stadium. After a hearing that lasted for several hours, U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith ordered both parties to mediation and told them he expected a resolution by the end of the month.

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Next-door nemesis: Try these mediation steps before resorting to legal confrontation in a neighborly dispute

Whether the problem is loud parties, grass-killing canines or nuisance foliage, difficult neighbors can make the American dream seem like a nightmare. A residential clash can escalate quickly, but experts say it’s best to avoid taking it to court. “The best way to resolve these disputes is by person-to-person discussion,” says John K. Weston, attorney and partner with Sacks, Weston, Petrelli, Diamond and Millstein in Philadelphia. “Not only is this the quickest way to end the matter, it’s also most likely to preserve a good neighbor relationship.” If the neighbor continually ignores your in-person requests, then you may need to call the police, Weston says.

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Choctaw-Chickasaw Water Lawsuit Mediation To Resume

The battle over water in Oklahoma remains unresolved, but mediation talks will now continue as part of an ongoing lawsuit. A lawsuit filed by the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations and a related lawsuit filed by the state have been on hold for more than a year. Officials hoped the two sides could settle their differences through negotiation. While they continue to talk, no one knows when -- or if -- a resolution will be reached. Negotiations are set to resume on July 18.

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ESPN: Mediation could be the answer for NFL

In a surprise ruling, a federal judge in Philadelphia ordered attorneys for more than 4,200 former NFL players suing the league over concussion injuries and league attorneys to participate in mediation to determine whether settlement is possible.

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7/09
Charges dropped against Rabbitohs Burgess

Sydney Rabbitohs player George Burgess has had wilful damage charges against him dropped. The 21-year-old's case was briefly mentioned in Cairns Magistrates Court on Wednesday. Burgess was charged with two counts of wilful damage after he allegedly threw a street sign through the back window of a vehicle following post-match celebrations in the Cairns suburb of Redlynch in June. His lawyer told the court that mediation between Burgess and the car owner had been successful.

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Officials primed for bridge mediation

City Council authorized three officials to act "in the best interest of the city" when they travel to Columbus next week for a mediation session regarding the old Bellaire Toll Bridge.

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Mediation to begin in Copar legal fight

With the two-year anniversary of the first publicly lodged complaint against Copar Quarries of Westerly nearing, town officials say they are continuing to monitor the operation and do what they can to help neighbors who claim it has ruined their quality of life. Tempers flared again during the Town Council’s July 1 meeting when residents of Bradford and nearby sections of Charlestown said blasting at the quarry seems to have increased. Residents also repeated their assertions that noise from stone crushing machines and other heavy equipment is unbearable and that stone dust is coating their properties and putting their health at risk.

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Judge Orders NFL Concussion Case to Mediation

The federal judge overseeing the case brought by thousands of former N.F.L. players who have accused the league of hiding the dangers of concussions ordered both sides to mediation.  United States District Court Judge Anita B. Brody, from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ordered Layn Phillips, a retired federal judge, to serve as mediator in the case. NFL head attorney Paul Clement is shown.

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7/08
India: Nagpur Court Mediation Centre settles over 1000 pending cases

The Nagpur District Court Mediation Centre has amicably settled 1,219 pending cases through the mediation process, out of 1,885 matters referred to it between January and May, thus granting relief to about 2,000 litigants. The centre was inaugurated in February by principal district judge Subhash Mohod on the premises of Nagpur District and Sessions Court for exploring possibility of referrals of the dispute to mediation at the pre-litigative stage.

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"A Primer On Peer Mediation"

For grades 9-12. This lesson has been designed to introduce students to the process of mediation. If Peer Mediation is an ongoing program at your school, this lesson can be used to inform students of what they can expect if they choose to solve a problem through mediation. It can also be used to encourage students to train to become mediators.

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Separating couples heading to court in Isle of Man urged to try mediation first.

A new scheme aims to help couples reach agreement over their children, property and finances when a relationship breaks down - avoiding a lengthy and stressful legal battle.  Mediators will be on duty whenever the Family Court is sitting, with experts on hand to help parting couples find common ground, especially over the care of children.

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Students use peer mediation

Conflicts between students arise all the time and, throughout the decades, a trip to the vice principal’s office has been used to resolve them. But studies have shown that another effective method, favored by students, exists in situations when there is no danger or threat posed to a student and allows for resolution without the intervention of an administrator.

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Palestinian Authority negotiator: US efforts alone won't bring peace

American mediation alone will not bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians, a senior Palestinian official said Sunday in a meeting in Ramallah with Likud and Shas party members. "I do not believe we can reach an agreement through US mediation alone. I believe that peace by means of a two-state solution is possible," said Nabil Shaath, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team.

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7/07
Mediation now available to resolve employment discrimination complaints

Resolving an employment discrimination complaint can drag on for years and cost thousands of dollars. Now, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has come up with an option in which both sides could reach a resolution in about 10 days.

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AG grants awarded to Fall River area consumer, mediation programs

About $1.5 million was awarded Friday to local consumer and mediation programs through grants provided by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office. The city of New Bedford was awarded funding for a new Face-to-Face Mediation Program that will serve the surrounding municipalities around New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton, authorities said.

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7/03
Conflict Mediation a Key Tool for Same-Sex Couples

Our lives sometimes seem filled with concerns or disagreements that too often spiral out of control into full-blown disputes. These conflicts may be with the ones we most love or may concern issues vitally important to us. These incidents may be with a partner relating to the dissolution of a relationship, with the family of a loved one regarding issues of care during an illness, with others laying claim to an inheritance after a death, with a former partner concerning visitation rights to children, with a child regarding access to grandchildren, or with an employer, school, neighbor, or merchant.

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"A Primer On Peer Mediation"

For grades 9-12. This lesson has been designed to introduce students to the process of mediation. If Peer Mediation is an ongoing program at your school, this lesson can be used to inform students of what they can expect if they choose to solve a problem through mediation. It can also be used to encourage students to train to become mediators. If Peer Mediation is new to your school, this lesson can be the jumping-off point to bringing a training program into your building. If possible, the PBS In the Mix episode "School Violence: Answers from the Inside" should be used because it shows an actual mediation (re-enacted) and shares viewpoints from both the participants and the student mediators.

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Connecticut Allows Insurance Department to Establish a Mediation Program for Claims Stemming from Catastrophe

In February and March, New York and New Jersey instituted voluntary mediation programs for open and unresolved Superstorm Sandy insurance claims. On Friday, June 21, 2013, Connecticut’s Governor Daniel Malloy signed a measure inspired by the storm that empowers the state’s insurance commissioner to set up a similar program after any “catastrophic event” that has prompted the governor’s office to declare a state of emergency.

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SINGAPORE - Mandatory mediation-counselling for divorcing couples with children under 14 years

Mandatory mediation and/or counselling have now been extended to couples who are going through divorce proceedings and have at least one child below 14 years of age. The change takes effect from July 1, 2013. Previously, it affected only those with at least one child below eight years of age.

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Minneapolis Divorce Lawyer vs. Divorce Mediator - Which is Best?

Using a divorce lawyer for your divorce can cost between $10,000 to $220,000 (unless you’re a celebrity, then the sky’s the limit). Divorce mediation costs a fraction of that amount, and is said to be less stressful, better for any children involved, and best for future modifications.

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Workplace mediation calms conflict

Calling in help to settle dispute not a sign of failure.  When Marjorie Munroe usually gets the call from a frustrated boss or an irritated human resources manager, it's usually about six months later than she would have liked. "By the time I get into the workplace, things have gotten pretty out of hand, so they call me when it has escalated," says Munroe, a chartered mediator, referring to a conflict between employees or teams. As the co-director of Workplace Fairness Alberta, she's trying to get the word out that calling in a mediator doesn't mean the manager or supervisor has failed at his or her job. Rather, it's an effective way to avoid nasty disputes between coworkers from escalating and potentially leading to one party leaving the organization.

 
India: New mediation clinic to tackle pre-litigation cases

As per the directive of the Bombay high court, the Nashik district legal services authority on Sunday commenced a mediation clinic at the Nashik district court.  A mediation centre has been operational at the district court since October 2009. Pending cases are settled at the centre, while the mediation clinic, which got underway on Sunday, will handle pre-litigation cases.

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North Carolina: Elizabeth Cook: Mediation results mixed, short-lived

It’s easy to see how teachers and administrators and even school boards could develop a victim mentality. The legislature makes the big budget decisions and has an endless capacity to micromanage policy. Meanwhile, local funding is controlled by county commissioners, not the school board. But school boards do not have to settle for whatever they can get. State law allows them to sue county boards of commissioners over funding. Since 1997, that law has also included an optional, pre-litigation step of mediation to avoid a lawsuit.

That’s where the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners are — headed into mediation, with a meeting scheduled Monday. At issue is whether local funding is “sufficient to support a system of free public schools.”

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June 2013
6/26
Why Washington Should Welcome Iran Mediation on Syria

This week marked another grim milestone in Syria’s ongoing civil war when the death toll topped 100,000. But as hopes for a peaceful resolution fade, a window of opportunity may have opened with the election of Iran’s new moderate leader, the cleric Hassan Rowhani. The question is whether the United States is willing to go that route.

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Making the Most of Mediation

More litigation is resolved by mediation than by jury trials. Because of this, it is very important that insurance professionals understand the mediation process and learn how to make it effective. William Moye, an insurance defense attorney and a partner in the Houston office of Thompson Coe Cousins & Irons LLP, recently met with several of the most respected mediators in Houston to discuss their thoughts on successful mediation.

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Connecticut Enacts Bill to Establish Disaster Claims Mediation Program

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy last week signed a bill that would mandate the insurance department to set up a mediation program for claims disputes arising from catastrophic events. Any mediation costs would be borne by the insurers.

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Is a neighbor hurting your home's value?

Love thy neighbor? Yeah, right. We're lucky if we can even tolerate them. A recent survey by Harris Interactive and State Farm Insurance found that 60% of Americans have a pet peeve with someone who lives nearby. How best to resolve?

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NY Mediation mandate intended to unclog big case backlog

In a major procedural innovation that began last July, most civil litigants in U.S. District Court in Rochester are required to try mediation first. The mediation mandate is an expansion of an alternative dispute resolution program begun in the Western District of New York's Buffalo division six years earlier. Largely the brainchild of the district's chief judge, William Skretney, the program was created in hope of reducing a stubborn case backlog that has clogged the district's courts for two decades, keeping many civil disputes on a back burner for years.

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Stormy marriage of Regina, neighbouring Sherwood to undergo mediation

It’s like a stormy municipal marriage, soon to undergo counselling to help both partners grow together. The city and neighbouring Rural Municipality of Sherwood are slated to begin mediation in an effort to smooth over growth and boundary issues, as planning proceeds for a massive development just southeast of Regina.

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Should Divorcing Couples Who Mediate Be Talking Through Counsel?

"When people involved in a legal dispute are unable to communicate constructively with each other, how do you think that impacts legal fees? When an attorney "advises" their client not to communicate directly with the other party, who does that benefit? In family law, those clients frequently have children together, whether they are minors or adults. How does such advice ultimately benefit such clients or their family? Remember, like it or not, if there are children of the relationship (regardless of their age), the family still exists after the relationship ends."

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Elder Mediation: Where to turn when family meetings become fights

Making care decisions for elders is often a long-term process requiring a series of discussions. Getting everyone to the table ensures the family is 95 percent of the way to a solution. Mediators can support families in avoiding unproductive fights and creating workable solutions to parents’ care needs.

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Why Annan Failed and Brahimi Struggles: The Challenges of Mediation in Syria

The “Arab Spring” reached Syria in March 2011, and since then, the situation in the country has worsened dramatically, with both the government and armed opposition groups committing massacres over the course of a civil war that has left an estimated 70,000 to 120,000 people dead by April 2013. In response to the escalating violence, the United Nations (UN) and the League of Arab States (LAS) in February 2012 initiated a mediation process by appointing Kofi Annan as their joint special representative for Syria.

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ADR: Mediation, Neuroscience And Your Brain

Mediators and law school professors increasingly are bringing neuroscience into mediations to reframe the conversations and promote reflection.   "The intersection of law and mediation is still a young field—cutting edge, actually—and we're still learning how the brain functions in decision-making. Neuroscience takes it into a few directions when you're talking about mediation," says Timothy Hedeen, professor of conflict management at Kennesaw State University.

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6/25
Massachusetts Department of Revenue and Appellate Tax Board Look to Expand Tax Dispute Mediation Programs

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue has indicated it is looking to expand taxpayer eligibility for its early mediation program for expedited settlement of tax disputes by including taxpayers with smaller proposed tax assessments—potentially as low as $250,000, compared with the current published guidance that limits the program to proposed assessments of $1 million or more. Speaking at the Boston Bar Association, Commissioner Amy Pitter stated that the Department has completed the initial pilot run of its mediation program, with three of the four mediated tax disputes ending in a settlement agreement. Commissioner Pitter also confirmed that the Department would be moving forward with the program on a permanent basis, making some adjustments to the program and expanding it to a wider group of potential taxpayers.

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Pakistan Mediators Association launched, to serve investors

International Finance Corporation, private sector arm of the World Bank Group, trained Accredited Mediators and Master Trainers have launched Pakistan Mediators Association (PMA) in all the four provinces of Pakistan. PMA has been established in providing mediation between the two disputants and restore the confidence of local and foreign investors. The newly established association is destined to serve mediation profession and other stakeholders who believe in promotion, use and institutionalization of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Pakistan.

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6/24
Pros and Cons of Mediation

Mediation is the settlement of a dispute between parties by the action of an intermediary, or neutral party. Participation in mediation is typically voluntary. The mediator does not render a decision at the end of mediation; instead, mediation leaves the control of the outcome — i.e., the actual settlement of the dispute — to the parties. A mediator neither renders a formal opinion as to which party is correct or to blame nor gives the chances for success if the dispute is litigated. The mediator acts as a neutral party and facilitates bringing the parties with different interests together by defining issues and eliminating the roadblocks to communication.

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Mediation could speed employment discrimination complaint process

A new mediation program in Pennsylvania is designed to make the process of handling employment discrimination complaints more efficient. Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission spokeswoman Shannon Powers says neutral mediators can help avoid lengthy -- and costly -- investigations.  "It will help to lighten the cases loads of our investigators... without compromising anybody's rights," Powers says. "We don't want to compromise anybody's rights -- but we want them to get relief faster, get back to work, get their issues resolved." She adds the main objective is to correct any discrimination issues that exist.

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Mediation talks planned over Pearson Air Museum

Agencies with a stake in operating the Pearson Air Museum have entered into formal mediation talks, prompting U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler to hit the pause button on her legislative solution for the dispute, her office said Thursday.

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RI Appeals court finds fault with foreclosure mediation process

U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell has scheduled a July 8 hearing to address the problems, outlined in a recent appeals court ruling, with his August 2011 order staying foreclosures and evictions in hundreds of Rhode Island foreclosure cases. The First Circuit Court of Appeals found that McConnell's order was effectively an injunction, and parties must "show probable success" of prevailing as a condition of continuing injunctive relief. Approximately 700 foreclosure cases under the direction of Special Master Merrill Sherman could be affected by any change to the process.

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6/23
Bombay HC CJ moots for greater role of mediation

"Maximum usage of lok adalats and resolution of cases through arbitration and mediation will reduce the burden of courts to a great extent," said Shah adding that all the 1800 judges in Maharashtra will be trained for mediation.

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America's Cup: Mediation makes good progress but ends without final resolution

Mediation aimed at reaching agreement on implementing 37 safety recommendations previously issued by Regatta Director Iain Murray has ended after four days. “The four teams agreed on the vast majority of the safety recommendations,” said Bryan Willis, one of the two International Jury members acting as mediators. “It was a useful and positive exercise and ended with only a couple of points unresolved.”

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6/20
Uganda: 'Mediation Fastens Dispensation of Justice'

The Chief justice, Benjamin Odoki, has called for training of more mediators and capacity building of judicial officers to help in mediation of cases. This, he said will ease case backlog in the Judiciary. Speaking during the official launch of the Judicature mediation rules in Kampala, Odoki said Uganda was one of the first African countries to develop mediation rules with a two-year pilot project at the commercial court division.

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All are right! A hassidic lesson for American mediators

Truth is not absolute. It is multifaceted. We cannot just insist on our truth and expect the other side to succumb to it and accept us as winners.

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Corporate Counsel: To Mediate, Or Not To Mediate?

I'm a mediator of business disputes. But no one ever asks me whether or not they should mediate their dispute—by the time they get to me, they've decided to go ahead. Still, I have the nagging suspicion that plenty of cases don't get this far, because one or both of the disputants has decided not to mediate. So I'm going to pretend that someone—namely, you—has actually come to me seeking advice on whether or not to mediate a particular dispute.

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Can mediation solve your dispute?

When a dispute arises, the knee jerk reaction is to take the matter to court, but the choice to pursue a trial can be a lengthy investment. Court proceedings are costly, especially if self-representation is not an option and you have to pay an attorney. If there is a problem that needs resolution, mediation may be your best option for resolving the issue with an outcome that benefits both parties involved.

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Greetings from Prague – World Forum of Mediation Centres

UIA World Forum of Mediation Centres took part in Prague from Friday June 7 to Saturday June 8 20013. What are the newest developments mentioned during the symposium?

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Mediation Now a Choice for Low-Income New Yorkers

The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is known for its excellent litigation skills, particularly in complex cases involving domestic violence, where a talented litigator is necessary to ensure the safety of the victim. However, the agency has also long recognized the value of alternative dispute resolution for certain other matters, which not only saves court and attorney resources, but can ultimately create more workable solutions for clients.

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Is Nevada's foreclosure program effective?

Metrics that evaluate Nevada effort being made public - slowly.  Eight months after a Reno Gazette-Journal article raised transparency concerns about the state’s foreclosure mediation system, administrators for the program have started to release more data to the public.

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Yachting: Kiwi to mediate in Cup row

A New Zealander is one of two sailing experts on the mediation panel which will try to get the warring America's Cup teams in San Francisco to agree on how and when the regatta will proceed - but the whole process could take at least another week.

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Mediation Sought for Penn State Sanction Funds

State Senator Jake Corman (R-Centre) and State Treasurer Rob McCord have asked Commonwealth Court to place their lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) into mediation, in the hope of deciding the use of Penn State University sanction funds as soon as possible. Their request, filed with the court yesterday afternoon, came after they received an exchange of correspondence from legal counsels for Penn State and the NCAA.

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Brooklyn becomes first borough to require mediation in civil cases

Brooklyn Supreme Court ushered in a new project Thursday requiring all civil cases to pass through a mediation process before proceeding to trial. The first of its kind, the mandatory mediation project hopes to alleviate some the costs and other strains that civil litigation places on Brooklyn’s court system.  “Brooklyn has over 54,000 cases pending which is more than any other county in New York” Hon. Lawrence Knipel, Brooklyn Supreme Court administrative judge for civil matters, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “Mandatory mediation will hopefully reduce to time and financial costs of a trial not only for the county but for the attorneys and parties involved.”

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