Mediation Case Law Video: Mediation Confidentiality

In State v. Williams, the appellate court considered a difficult question of mediator confidentiality. Is a mediation a confidential space or can the information shared in mediation be later submitted in a courtroom?

In State v. Williams, 877 A.2d 1258 (N.J. 2005), the appellate court affirmed the assertion of mediation privilege to prevent mediator’s testimony sought to support self-defense claim in assault case because state interest in protecting mediation confidentiality was not outweighed by defendant’s need for the evidence where: 1) the mediator’s testimony lacked reliability because the “mediator’s description of the [mediation] session gives the overall impression of bedlam” and the mediator’s post-mediation interest in the case, including attendance at trial after being notified of the trial date by defendant, raised concerns about mediator neutrality; and 2) the defendant was able to introduce other evidence supporting his self-defense claim.

For the past decade, as part of the annual Minnesota State Bar Association ADR Institute, Hamline Professor James Coben has been producing short videos illustrating mediation litigation. Mediate.com is proud to now assist in the further distribution of these exceptional teaching and learning resources.

This enactment may portray “less than optimal” mediator performance. Rest assured that you are not at risk by hiring any of the ADR Institute Players as neutrals (or lawyers), despite what you see on the tape. The videos are fictional reenactments of the mediations underlying the published litigated cases.

                        author

James Coben

Professor James Coben, a senior fellow in Hamline's Dispute Resolution Institute ("DRI") which he directed from 2000-2009, teaches civil procedure, dispute resolution practices, mediation, and negotiation. He also pioneered a variety of innovative ADR clinical opportunities for law students, including mediation advocacy on behalf of clients in family law and… MORE >

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