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<xTITLE>A Works Progress Administration Act for Mediators?</xTITLE>

A Works Progress Administration Act for Mediators?

by Victoria Pynchon

From Settle It Now Negotiation Blog

Victoria Pynchon

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
and costs.


Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all types of business torts and contract disputes.  During her two years of full-time neutral practice, she has co-mediated both mandatory and voluntary settlement conferences with Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Alexander Williams, III and Victoria Chaney.  As a result of her work with Judge Chaney in the Complex Court at Central Civil West, Ms. Pynchon has gained significant experience mediating construction defect litigation.  Ms. Pynchon received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from the U.C. Davis School of Law. 

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