Mediation in Today's News

September 2013
9/06 Has Over 19,000 Daily Visitor Sessions During August had 19,926 average visitor sessions per day, and an average visit time of 13:19, for the month of August 2013. 

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Online courts imminent in BC, Netherlands and Singapore

The Civil Resolution Tribunal will ensure a low cost and effective resolution of such disputes, based on a law that establishes principles of collaborative forms of adjudication, instead of litigation on an adversarial basis. This is but one example of a major trend: courts are moving their services online.

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Pakistan launches mobile mediation court to help back logged court

Pakistani officials have begun offering mediation in a mobile courtroom to test whether it can help clear clogged courts. The courtroom-on-a-bus will mediate small civil cases, minor criminal cases and juvenile cases. Cases can drag on for decades in Pakistan - there are 1.4 million pending nationally. Some families of victims, frustrated with the moribund courts, turn to all-male gatherings of elders called jirgas instead. These offer instant decisions, but have sentenced people to be buried alive, gang-raped or stoned to death.

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Mediator: NFL settles with 4500 players in concussion litigation

A former federal judge announced Thursday a $765 million settlement between the NFL and more than 4,500 players who have sued the league over concussion-related compensation. The agreement was hammered out during mediation led by former U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips, ending the litigation against the NFL and NFL Properties. The settlement would provide medical care and benefits to qualified injured players or their families. It also will fund medical and safety research and cover litigation expenses and attorney's fees. 

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Psychiatry professor appointed U of Michigan faculty ombuds

Bruno Giordani, chief psychologist in the University’s Department of Psychiatry and professor of psychiatry, neurology and psychology, began his term as faculty ombuds, the University of Michigan's chief mediator, Sunday.

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Kosovans demand FIFA mediation to allow players' right to play

Kosovan football authorities have written to FIFA president Sepp Blatter condemning Russia's refusal to grant a visa to a Swiss-based Kosovan player for a recent Europa League fixture. The thorny issue of Kosovan eligibility returned to the spotlight last week when St Gallen midfielder Kristian Nushi (pictured), who moved to Switzerland 11 years ago but still holds a Kosovan passport, was refused entry to play against Spartak Moscow.

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Israel's High Court sends South Hebron Hills evictions to mediation

The High Court of Justice declines to make a ruling on the evictions of over 1,000 Palestinian villagers from what Israel calls ‘Firing Zone 918.’ Villagers’ attorneys say referral to mediation process is a sign the court wasn’t satisfied with the state’s arguments. International writers sign petition against evictions.

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United Kingdom: Finality at Mediation : legally binding agreements

Despite the strained relationships and the complexities in their business interests, and due in large part to the "extremely skilled" mediator present, an agreement was reached in principle during the course of the mediation. Having reached an agreement, the brothers left (separately) for dinner whilst David Frost's solicitor, Mr Serby, sought to document the terms of the agreement, which was then signed by the Frosts on their return. The agreement was not, however, legally binding.

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Mediator steps in to help bring music back to MN Orchestra Hall

The Minnesota Orchestra and its locked out musicians are now working with a mediator on stalled contract talks. With no agreement in sight, the mediator's job is to bring both sides closer together and the orchestra faces some serious deadlines over the next several weeks.

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Peace Palace celebrates 100th anniversary

The Peace Palace in The Hague on Wednesday celebrated its centennial anniversary, in the presence of Dutch King Willem-Alexander, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Despite growing tensions in the Syria conflict, the festivities in The Hague continued to celebrate international peace and justice. The Peace Palace is deemed to be a worldwide icon of Peace and Justice since its opening on August 28, 1913, eleven months before the start of World War I, as the location for the Permanent Court of Arbitration to solve conflicts between countries without war. It is currently home to a number of international judicial institutions, including the UN International Court of Justice, or World Court, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the renowned Peace Palace Library, as well as the Hague Academy of International Law.  "Today The Hague is known as the legal capital of the world ... (and) an epicenter of international justice and accountability," said Ban Ki-moon during his speech.

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August 2013

AU: Mediator will smooth food supply path

A RE-ELECTED Labor government will appoint an independent mediator at the end of the year, to break any ongoing deadlock in the development of an industry code of conduct between farmers, processors and supermarkets, says Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.

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Mediation begins in student lawsuits against Mountain State

Attempts to settle several hundred lawsuits filed against Mountain State University are continuing in Charleston. Former students packed an auditorium at the Civic Center on Monday. It was the only day plaintiffs were required to attend the three-day mediation. The students sued after the school closed its doors because it lost accreditation. Their lawsuits allege that school officials were deceptive about the problems the school was facing. The Higher Learning Commission revoked the school’s primary accreditation in June 2012 after years of failing to correct major problems in leadership, program evaluations and campuswide governance. In December, the commission denied Mountain State’s bid to regain its accreditation.

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Using Mediation to Keep Your Cool During Divorce and Beyond

While most divorcing parents try to make their split an amicable one, wading through the issues of parenting time, custody arrangements and child support can lead to turmoil for even the most well-intentioned of parents. The stress of the situation can continue even after the divorce is over.

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What is Scientific Mediation?

Scientific mediation works like this. You bring together one scientist from each point of view. Scientist A wants to do one thing, Scientist B wants the opposite. Then with the help of a mediator, they write a joint paper. And the purpose of the paper is to advise a government agency or a court.  They write a joint paper where they state the areas they agree on in order to narrow down the dispute, the fundamental points that they disagree about, and then - this is the trick - they have to agree on why they disagree.  They never have to agree on the merits, but they have to agree on why they disagree. And in doing that, with the help of a mediator, they really begin to understand each other’s position and what happens is that their personal biases surface.

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Austin mediation company proposes to redevelop Hancock Golf Course

Jim Huddleston with Crawford, Huddleston and Co., an Austin-based mediation company, will present a proposal to the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) this week to redevelop and sell the Hancock Golf Course. A letter from Huddleston to PARD director Sara Hensley recommends that city officials hire the firm to redevelop the golf course into a "revitalized mixed use enclave" of roughly 55 residential sites and three acres of commercial reserve "that encompasses the existing historic structure."

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Mediation begins in lawsuits over Mountain State U accreditation

The Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting body for colleges and universities in several states including West Virginia, placed MSU on "show cause" status in June 2011, citing the school for its top-down leadership, lack of long-term planning, failure to collaborate with faculty, failure to give information to students, and the loss of specialized accreditation for the nursing program. The cases before the panel include those filed over the university's "loss of general accreditation, special accreditations in its nursing and nurse anesthetist programs, and any other educational programs that require independent accreditation."

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Peace, mediation committees at police stations

Rawalpindi police has been directed to form peace and mediation committees in all police stations. SSP (Operations) Rawalpindi Israr Abbasi also ordered the police officials to take action in the cases of quarrels and clashes after taking point of view of both rival groups and asked SHOs to remain in contact with the masses. He also ordered an inquiry into the alleged corruption on the police check posts on Adiala Road. He also urged the youth to form committees to help the police in controlling crimes. It is relevant to mention here that crimes in the district have gone rampant, and incidents of police officials minting money from the motorists and motorcyclists on check posts are also common while the police seem helpless in controlling the situation.

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Authorities will prosecute men who impregnate teens

Dominican Republic: The Attorney General’s Office added 92l community leaders to its Conflict Mediation and Conciliation System, during an event in which AG Francisco Domínguez Brito declared that the authorities would apply the full weight of the law against men who impregnate underage girls. “Teenage pregnancy is a serious crisis in the Dominican Republic. We are going to work hard to ensure there is no acceptance, and that these cases are followed through until the final consequences,” Meanwhile, District Attorney for the National District Yeni Berenice Reynoso highlighted the importance of conflict mediators, as each case that is handled by the prosecution system costs the State thousands of pesos.

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Oregon University Staff Head Toward Mediation

Oregon University System workers expressed dissatisfaction with their contract terms as they headed into the final day of negotiations Friday. The Herald and News reports that roughly 1,300 classified staff members at universities across the state could strike if negotiators can’t reach a deal.

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Civil trials are disappearing in the US 
by Kenneth Childs

Over the past several years, fewer and fewer civil cases have proceeded to trial. Indeed, over the past 40 to 50 years or so, the decline has been precipitous. In 1962, 11.5 percent of federal civil cases went to trial, but by 2002 that figure had dropped to only 1.8 percent. In Multnomah County over the past six years, only 0.68 percent of civil cases were resolved by trial. That statistic is similar in state and federal courts throughout the country.

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A mediator's guide to the Middle East

If we examine Kerry’s mediation efforts in light of the factors that have caused American mediation to fail in the past, we will be better able to determine whether the current efforts are repeating earlier mistakes, or whether Washington has learned the necessary lessons.

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Man agrees to mediation in dispute over feeding bears

A man suspected of leaving food for the neighborhood's troublesome black bear population averted a trial Tuesday after agreeing to an out-of-court attempt to address state wildlife officials' safety concerns. Under state law, Charles Medina, 63, faces a $68 fine if mediation talks scheduled for September fail to resolve a misdemeanor charge of luring bears. But according to state wildlife officials, the stakes are much higher for bears drawn into the city's neighborhoods by the promise of an easy meal.

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Officer-involved shooting lawsuit goes into mediation

A lawsuit filed against an East Texas police department is going into mediation. The family of 22-year-old Victor Fuentes filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Tyler Police Department in June. Fuentes was shot and killed by police on New Years Eve 2012 after officers responded to gunshots fired in his neighborhood. His sister says that firing off a gun is tradition on New Years Eve, but that Fuentes only fired shots at the ground. His sister adds that the gun had no rounds in it when officers arrived. Police say Fuentes refused to drop his gun so police fired at him several times.

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Social Media and Divorce

Is it appropriate to use social media to promote divorce-related services?

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Judges selected to help with Detroit bankruptcy mediation

Chief Judge Gerald Rosen on Tuesday announced the formation of a mediation team to assist with major issues in the Detroit bankruptcy case in U.S. District Court’s Eastern District. Rosen was appointed last week by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes as the lead mediator in the case, the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in the nation’s history.  The initial meeting of the mediation team will be Sept. 17.

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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner reaches mediation deal, city attorney says

An agreement has been reached with San Diego Mayor Bob Filner after three days of mediation, the city attorney told reporters Wednesday.  City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said details of the proposed deal would remain confidential until they are presented to the City Council in a private meeting Friday at 1 p.m. (4 p.m. ET).  Immediately after the meeting, a report may be out at a public council meeting, Goldsmith said.

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Wind turbine lawsuit ordered to mediation

A group of homeowners claiming physical and financial harm from wind turbines has been ordered to seek mediation with Consumers Energy in a lawsuit filed earlier this year.

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Filner mediator called 'incredibly savvy'

On the 17th floor of a gleaming high-rise office building in downtown San Diego, Mayor Bob Filner’s legal problems and his political future are being hashed out by a contingent of lawyers, city officials and a retired federal judge known for bringing opposing sides to an agreement. Former U.S. District Judge J. Lawrence Irving, the respected mediator who helped settle complex cases stemming from the collapse of Lincoln Savings & Loan more than 20 years ago to the fallout from the Enron implosion in 2005, is presiding over the mediation sessions.

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A Writing May Not Actually Have To Be A Writing To Confirm A Settlement Reached At Mediation

Last week, I posted about the new Supreme Court case regarding enforcing settlements reached at mediation. That case made clear that a settlement that is reached at mediation but not reduced to a signed written agreement will not be enforceable. Simple enough right. But what is a writing. The Court noted that a short form settlement agreement (term sheet) drafted by one of the attorneys and signed by the parties at the mediation table. The Court also went on to discuss other possible "writings", as follows . . .

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Marlboro Airport owner settles complaint about runway damage during Obama visit

The federal government and the owner of Marlboro Airport have settled a civil complaint filed by the airport against the U.S. Secret Service after the airport owner claimed the U.S. Secret Service caused roughly $700,000 of runway damage during President Obama's surprise visit in 2010.

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Tunisian Islamists accept union plan to resolve crisis

Tunisia's governing Islamists edged closer to negotiations with secular opponents on Thursday by agreeing in principle to a plan for a transition toward new elections proposed by the powerful trade unions. The birthplace of the Arab Spring revolts, Tunisia is struggling to defend its nascent democracy against political polarization and popular discontent, especially after Egypt's army ousted another elected Islamist leader, Mohamed Mursi.

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Divorce: Play nice, save money

Mediation can help couples end their marriages as peacefully as possible, and for far less money than a traditional divorce.

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Faced with Concussion Lawsuit, NCAA Opts for Mediation

A concussion lawsuit against the NCAA could be headed for a settlement after the association agreed with the plaintiffs' attorneys to enter mediation. While the NCAA is sticking to its position regarding its responsibility in the long-term injuries of four former athletes who are named plaintiffs, it made what one legal expert considered a shrewd business move. Both parties reported in a hearing Thursday that discovery was proceeding but that they sought mediation, and a U.S. District Court judge in Illinois granted a stay in the case.

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Allred says mediation on lawsuit against Mayor Filner is 'ongoing'

After an all-day session aimed at settling a sexual harassment lawsuit against Mayor Bob Filner, plaintiff's attorney Gloria Allred said Monday that mediation is "ongoing" and being supervised by a retired federal judge. Allred declined to discuss details, specifically whether Filner's resignation is being discussed as a condition of settling the lawsuit filed on behalf of his former director of communications, Irene McCormack Jackson. After 5 p.m, Allred and Jackson emerged together from the session at an office building several blocks from City Hall. The mediation is being supervised by retired judge J. Lawrence Irving.

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Ruth Glick named President of ABA Section for Dispute Resolution

“Ruth Glick is an arbitrator and mediator of the highest integrity and serves on the AAA panel with the utmost dedication. With her extensive training and expertise in multiple methods of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), Ms. Glick is an inspired choice to head the ABA Dispute Resolution Section,” commented India Johnson,
President and CEO of AAA/ICDR®.

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NJ Court Says Mediation Agreements Must Be in Writing

Mediation agreements will not be enforced unless the terms are put in writing and signed by the parties before the mediation comes to a close, the state Supreme Court says. Where the terms are too complex to be drafted that same day, the mediation should be continued for "a brief but reasonable period of time to allow for the signing of the settlement." The bright-line rule is meant to prevent litigation over what occurred at mediation because mediation should help resolve disputes expeditiously, "not spawn more litigation," the court held.

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Baby Veronica case: Court hearings end, mediation agreement filed

The biological and adoptive parents for Baby Veronica met in a Cherokee County courthouse today for more than three hours in their continuing custody battle. Afterward, the court filed a mediation agreement, although details are unavailable. Both families then went a few blocks to the Cherokee Nation tribal court for a closed hearing. The Brown family -- which includes 3-year-old Veronica's biological father, Dusten Brown -- left the tribal courthouse first and had no comment. Veronica's grandmother was in tears, and the child's grandfather shook his head no when asked if there was any good news in a day that included about five hours of court proceedings.

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Darfur peace mediator, rebels hold consultations in Tanzania

The joint chief mediator for peace in Darfur Mohamed Chambas organizes a consultations meeting Tuesday in Arusha, northern Tanzania, with the hold-out rebel groups in a bid to step up efforts to end the 10-year conflict in western Sudan.  Joint Special Representative, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, kicks out a ball after a football match in Al Neem camp for Internally Displaced Persons in El Daein, East Darfur, between players from El Daein and Al Neem IDP camp. 

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Massachusetts city opts out of foreclosure mediation

The city of Worcester, Mass., is standing firm on its original decision not to establish a mandatory mediation program for foreclosures involving local owner-occupied homes.

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Mayor Bob Filner's attorneys in mediation that includes possible resignation

Two inside, anonymous sources say Mayor Bob Filner's attorneys were in a mediation session Monday morning with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and LA-based attorney Gloria Allred. One source said a retired federal judge is presiding over the mediation, which was designed to include a review of a potential resignation by Filner.

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School Seeks to Prevent Bullying Through Peer Mediation

Students at Will Rogers Middle School in Miami, Oklahoma are preventing bullying through peer mediation. The new program is helping students learn how to talk issues out before things get out of hand.

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Why mediation is better than litigation

Having a disagreement with someone that you can’t seem to resolve? Sure, you could take it to court, and let the lawyers and the judge decide the outcome. But is that what’s best for both parties? Courts are swamped and won’t spend a great deal of time on each small case, so they might just push it through with a ruling that really helps no one in the end.

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In mediation and terminal illness, Bob Bugg found pathways to peace

His daughter, Jennifer Dunlap, worked in Mr. Bugg's office for several years. In mediation, she said, "You have to make them walk out like they got the best of every possible scenario. And I think he did that. It's a mystery to me, but it was just his gift." At times, his calm demeanor prompted even the lawyers to seek out his advice on personal matters. "Sometimes the only 'help' I could give was to just listen," Mr. Bugg wrote in his blog.

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Meningitis outbreak: Judge sets up mediation

A federal judge in Boston has set up a mediation program in an attempt to quickly settle the dozens of pending lawsuits filed by victims of a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak that has claimed the lives of 15 Tennessee patients. In a 13-page order issued Thursday, U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV set a series of strict deadlines for participants to organize and begin negotiations. Those wishing to join in the mediation must do so by Sept. 23. Participation, Saylor stressed, is voluntary.

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America's oldest synagogue and first congregation wrestle over sale of Torah finial bells

America's oldest synagogue and first congregation wrestle over sale of Torah finial bells Synagogue agreed to sell Colonial-era bells to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts for $7.4m but congregation says it owns both the synagogue and bells.

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Detroit bankruptcy judge orders mediator to handle union talks

The federal judge presiding over Detroit's municipal bankruptcy filing has ordered the mediator in the case to handle negotiations of collective bargaining agreements with the city's unions. In a brief filing, Steven Rhodes of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ordered Chief District Judge Gerald Rosen, whom he named as mediator between the city and its creditors earlier this week, to handle "negotiation and renegotiation of collective bargaining agreements."

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N.J. Supreme Court rules on mediation deals

The state Supreme Court has ruled that agreements reached in mediation will be enforceable in the future only if they’re put in writing and signed. The decision came in a dispute over the February 2005 sale of the Willingboro Mall when the seller and the buyer came to a verbal agreement in the presence of a mediator. The seller, Willingboro Mall Ltd., later sought to reject the settlement, then sued the buyer, 240/242 Franklin Avenue LLC. The seller also sued on the grounds that Franklin had violated the confidentiality of the mediation process. The ruling said Willingboro Mall Ltd. had undercut its arguments over confidentiality by disclosing information itself and by waiving the mediation-communication privilege. The high court said it would enforce the verbal agreement in the Willingboro case, but added its requirement for signed agreements in the future “will greatly reduce the potential for litigation.”

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Mediator's Proposal Accepted by Minnesota Orchestra Musicians, Rejected by Board

There are new developments regarding the future of the Minnesota Orchestra. A push to get negotiations up and running again have appeared to stall. A mediator's proposal that was accepted by the musicians, but rejected by the board. At this point, it's unclear why the board rejected the proposal.

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Judge appoints mediator for Detroit bankruptcy

The judge handling Detroit's Chapter 9 bankruptcy case has appointed Detroit chief federal judge Gerald Rosen as a mediator in the case. Rosen said in a statement Tuesday that his aim is to bring those involved in the bankruptcy case together "in a neutral forum, away from the glare of the spotlight" and resolve as many disputes as possible. He says he'll work with a small team of other mediators.

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Mediation vs meddling

Dina Ezzat wonders how foreign influence can shape the management of Egypt’s ongoing political crisis

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Firing of employee after his angry outburst during mediation did not constitute retaliation

While the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit all employer action after an employee has filed a discrimination charge or lawsuit, it precludes employers from taking an action that might dissuade a reasonable employee from making or supporting a discrimination charge. Recently, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the retaliation claim of an employee who had been fired after verbally accosting the employer’s representatives at a mediation and determined that such a firing was not the type of action likely to keep reasonable individuals from filing discrimination claims and, therefore, was not retaliatory.