California mediators, listen up! Your legislature is working for you (and for the AAA).
Thanks to the Institue for Conflict Management Blog (h/t to Diane Levin) for hipping us to Senate Bill 1642 requiring public entities to mediate 3rd-party claims relating to a public works contract if the claimant demands that mediation be pursued. The guts of the proposal below:
In the event there is any portion of a claim that remains unresolved, the party who submitted the claim, at its discretion, may demand mediation with the parties mutually agreeing to a mediator within 30 days from the date of the demand for mediation. If the parties are not able to mutually agree on a mediator, the parties shall utilize the American Arbitration Association to assist in the selection of a mediator.
(4) If any portion of the claim remains unsettled after mediation, the contractor and the local agency, charter city, or charter county shall submit the dispute to binding arbitration, and shall follow the same procedure for selecting an arbitrator as set forth in paragraph (2) for the selection of a mediator.
(5) Failure by the local agency, charter city, or charter county to respond to a claim within the time periods set forth in this subdivision shall result in the claim deemed being approved in its entirety, and shall be processed for payment within five days from the expiration of the time period in which the local agency, charter city, or charter county is required to act. Failure by the contractor to respond to a claim from the public entity, charter city, or charter county within the time periods prescribed in this subdivision shall result in the claim being denied. The parties may extend the time period for response by mutual agreement.
(6) If either party is required to initiate a civil action in which to enforce the rights provided under this section, the prevailing party shall be entitled to its reasonable attorney fees