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<xTITLE>An Open Letter - Part 2</xTITLE>

An Open Letter - Part 2

by Phyllis Pollack
May 2010

From the Blog of Phyllis G. Pollack.

Phyllis  Pollack

Last week, I discussed a legislative bill, AB 2475, introduced into the California legislature which, if passed, abolishes quasi-judicial immunity for mediators and other alternative dispute resolution professionals.(ab_2475_bill_20100408.) As President of the Southern California Mediation Association (“SCMA”), I sent a letter to the sponsor of the legislation, posted it on my blog and urged everyone to make their voices heard.

It seems those voices were heard as the legislation was amended on April 22, 2010 to abolish quasi-judicial immunity only for matters falling within California’s Family Code. (ab_2475_bill_20100422 .) Thus, while this legislation no longer effects mediators handling civil, commercial, contractual or personal injury disputes, it still effects private mediators handling family-law matters. Given that its purpose is apparently aimed at evaluators (i.e. not mediators) who submit findings and recommendations to a court, this latest amended draft still sweeps too broadly: Family law mediators are bound by mediation confidentiality and so do not submit any findings and recommendations to a court.

So, once again, I have written to the sponsor of the legislation ( letter) and urge each of you to do the same and make your viewpoint known and heard.

. . . Just something to think about.

Postscript: It seems that this draft legislation has once again been amended. On April 28, 2010, it was modified drastically so that it now abolishes”… quasi -judicial immunity… [for] any private third party … appointed by the court …who provides a report or findings to the court in a proceeding under the Family Code, with the intention that the court act in one way or another based on the report or findings….” (ab_2475_bill_20100428.) Success! The Assembly Member heard your voices! Have a great day!


Phyllis Pollack with PGP Mediation uses a facilitative, interest-based approach. Her preferred mediation style is facilitative in the belief that the best and most durable resolutions are those achieved by the parties themselves. The parties generally know the business issues and priorities, personalities and obstacles to a successful resolution as well as their own needs better than any mediator or arbitrator. She does not impose her views or make decisions for the parties. Rather, Phyllis assists the parties in creating options that meet the needs and desires of both sides.  When appropriate, visual aids are used in preparing discussions and illustrating possible solutions. On the other hand, she is not averse to being proactive and offering a generous dose of reality, particularly when the process may have stalled due to unrealistic expectations of attorney or client, a failure to focus on needs rather than demands, or when one or more parties need to be reminded of the potential consequences of their failure to reach an agreement.

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