Mediation in Today's News

February 2014

Sudan to mediate Egypt-Ethiopia dam talks

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is waiting for the winner of Egypt's upcoming presidential polls to launch a mediation initiative aimed at bridging the gap between Egypt and Ethiopia regarding the latter's Nile dam project, a diplomatic source said Friday. "Sudan will play a role clearing the air and mitigating the tensions" between the two countries over Ethiopia's hydroelectric dam project, the source – who serves in the African Union and asked to remain anonymous – told Anadolu Agency. read


HOA Hires Mediator to Deal with Military Welcome Banner

A welcome home sign for an Acadiana sailor is still unwelcomed in one Lafayette neighborhood and the story is sparking other veterans to take action. As we reported a Lafayette family in the Frenchman's Creek subdivision took down a banner after a letter was sent from an attorney representing their homeowner's association.The letter stated they had 30 days to take the sign down with little explanation as to why. Now, the association has hired a legal mediator to address the situation. read


International Mediation – The New Libel Tourism?

U.S. celebs, increasingly drawn to the UK courts by its tougher libel laws, will find a new emphasis on mediation to settle media disputes.  With increasing pressure from the British Government and Judiciary for a reduction in escalating legal costs, it will be interesting to see whether these increasing calls for mediation as an alternative to litigation will be adhered to, particularly following on from the recent European Directive, which is intended to encourage alternative dispute resolution (ADR) across the board in all European states. read


New Dutch bill aims to encourage mediation

The use of mediation for the resolution of disputes is becoming increasingly popular and many governments, including the Dutch government, are encouraging its use. However, until fairly recently, Dutch law contained no specific mediation provisions. This changed with the implementation of the EU Mediation Directive (2008/52/EC). In addition to the implementation of the directive, three draft bills that aim to further embed and codify mediation as an alternative to traditional judicial procedures are pending in Parliament. This update outlines the purposes of the law implementing the directive and the three draft bills. It then focuses on the changes that the bill concerning civil and commercial matters may bring about if enacted, noting both the positive and the possibly negative consequences for (cross-border) disputes in the Netherlands. read


Q&A: What Is a Bankruptcy Mediator's Role

Federal Judge Gerald Rosen, the chief mediator in Detroit’s bankruptcy case, has a big job: overseeing tense negotiations with diverse creditor groups working to boost their individual recoveries in the Motor City’s historic Chapter 9 case. The Wall Street Journal profiled Judge Rosen, who’s been praised by some for his innovative approach and criticized by others for taking on what they consider an inappropriate advocacy role. MoneyBeat connected with other bankruptcy mediators who’ve worked on Chapter 9 cases to discuss the mediator’s role, how the process works and why it may differ from corporate bankruptcy cases. read


Medical disputes pushed to arbitration

A new regulation will require public medical institutions to inform patients that they have the option to settle their medical disputes through arbitration if the case involves a claim of more than 30,000 yuan ($4,938). The regulation, which goes into effect next month, is one of several new rules that aim to steer more aggrieved patients to the city's medical arbitration system, rather than letting their complaints pile up at local hospitals, said Li Heping, vice director of the Shanghai Medical Dispute People's Arbitration Office. "There have been a lot of unsolved disputes accumulating at public hospitals. We want to push more of them into medical arbitration by informing more families about the system," Li said. Patients in about 75 percent of medical dispute cases have demanded more than 30,000 yuan in compensation, Li said. The medical arbitration system began in 2006 as a pilot program in several districts, but it received few cases until it was instituted citywide in 2011. Last year, local medical arbitration offices dealt with 3,087 cases and resolved about 80 percent of them. read


Legal Aid Ontario pilots independent legal advice for mediation clients

Under a new pilot aimed at reducing unrepresented family litigants and improving outcomes, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) will cover the cost of a family lawyer to support clients who choose mediation and to transform those agreements into legally-binding documents. "In looking at expanding access to justice for low-income Ontarians, mediation is a good alternative to having a judge or a third party step in to resolve family relationship issues," says John McCamus, Chair of LAO. "This voluntary process empowers people to resolve their family legal issues for themselves - and with this pilot, they can be assured that the end result is legally binding." read


Puppy's death: Mediation brings saga to an end

It took a 12-hour mediation session last week to finally bring closure to a five-month saga over whether Tammy the puppy should have been put to sleep. Both sides - the woman who adopted the seven-month-old mongrel before euthanising it and the animal welfare volunteer who found it a home - agreed that re-homing the animal would have been a better option. The saga first made waves when the volunteer, Ms Ada Ong, posted Tammy's story on Facebook on Oct 11 last year, four days after the dog was put down at a clinic in Clementi. read


Legal Eye: how to lessen the impact of divorce on children

It's not news that divorce and the legal process of separation have a negative impact on children. In recent years, as this has become more apparent, courts and governments in many parts of the world have attempted to minimise the knock-on effects for youngsters. In Hong Kong, the welfare and best interest of the children in divorce is of paramount importance. This is enshrined in statute and is where judges will start when they look at a divorce case involving children. It is also a fact that if conflict in a case can be minimised, the impact on the parties and the children will also be reduced. This has led to an increase in mediation - both outside the court process and within it - and the newer concept of collaborative practice. Initially, both mediation and collaborative practice focus on what can be agreed between the parties. The problem with traditional litigation is that it tends to focus the minds of the parties on what they do not agree on and consequently each takes a position. It is a different mindset. read


Can we talk?

Thinking of suing that firm that did you wrong as a customer or that vendor for poor quality merchandise? Try mediation or arbitration instead. The two methods are among remedies collectively known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Business owners who turn to ADR save time, money and maybe the business relationship that’s in question. “ADR is a cost containment mechanism. Cases move faster and that saves money,” says Bill Nolan, managing partner at Barnes & Thornburg. read


Portland teachers strike: Negotiators continue marathon mediation session into Tuesday morning

After nearly 21 hours of bargaining, leaders for Portland Public Schools and its teachers union are still at the negotiating table in attempts to reach a deal that could cancel an impending teachers strike. The continued talks represent more hope than ever that leaders are eager to get an agreement on the table. Though no agreement was reached as of 6 a.m., district and union leaders seemed ready to work until a deal was reached. If the two sides reach a tentative agreement later this morning, it could avert the district's first-ever strike on Thursday. read


Battle lines harden among lawmakers as EPA mediation looms

The hot conflict over the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to treat Wind River Indian Reservation tribes as a state under the Clean Air Act began to cool during the last 10 days, as almost all parties agreed that it was time to talk, not fight, about the boundaries of the reservation. Alone among the stakeholders in the EPA dispute, the state Legislature is debating bills that may increase rather than decrease tensions about the reservation boundaries. read


Mediation pays off as Lebanon forms new government

Lebanon's new Prime Minister, Tamam Salam, announced the formation of his government Saturday, following months of bitter political wrangling. Agreement was reached after the March 14th coalition agreed to withdraw its choice for interior minister after strong opposition from Hezbollah. The names of the 24 members of the new government were solemnly read aloud in a gesture that left many Lebanese breathing a sigh of relief. The country had been in the hands of a caretaker government for many months, as both major political factions argued over who controlled what. Incoming Prime Minister Tamam Salam, who is himself the son of a beloved, long-time prime minister, noted in his inaugural message that he had attempted to put together a balanced government in which all parties participated, but without any religious or sectarian quotas. He said that the 24 ministerial posts in his government were distributed to achieve balance and participation of all national forces. He stressed that an attempt was made to avoid any religious or sectarian quotas, with the exception of the deputy prime minister's post. read


Sudan: African Mediator Struggles to Prevent Collapse of Talks On Sudan's Two Areas

The African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) is struggling to prevent the failure of peace talks on the conflict in the Two Areas, as the negotiating parties trade accusations of foiling the process. The African mediation team led by the former Thabo Mbeki refuses the failure of this round of negotiations between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), an African source close to the process told Sudan Tribune on Sunday. Mbeki held "separate encounters with the head of the Sudanese government delegation Ibrahim Gandour and the SPLM-N chief negotiator Yasir Arman before to convene a joint meeting with both of them", the sources further said. The two parties are supposed to resume direct discussions Monday as the chief mediator is drafting a new paper to be submitted to the negotiating delegations based on the outcome of three meetings they held since 13 February. The US special envoy, Donald Booth, reportedly is also exerting efforts to ensure the continuation of the process where the mediation hopes at least at this round to come out with a cessation of hostilities between the two sides. read


Regulator plans purge of Wall Street arbitrators

Wall Street veterans would no longer be allowed to act as arbitrators in many legal disputes between investors and their brokerages under a proposal that a U.S. regulator will present to its board on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said. The plan by the U.S. brokerage industry self-regulator, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), would mean that investors could opt to have their cases heard by a panel of three so-called public arbitrators who would not include people who had past industry ties. read


Mediation matters

Mediation is no panacea in family law, but clients must be properly advised on dispute resolution. The number of couples helped through publicly funded family mediation has indeed fallen. However, there is no causal link between the decline in the use of mediation and the skills of mediators. The trend has arisen directly from the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act and the loss of Funding Code referrals from solicitors to Legal Aid Authority-contracted mediators by legal aid solicitors. This has been described as a ‘policy car crash’ by a number of Ministry of Justice representatives. read


Mediation beats litigation

Employment law specialist Ian Spiteri Bailey believes that Malta is in dire need of more mediation services, which he says will help reduce the load on the Maltese courts and tribunals, as well as allowing lawyers to dedicate more time to their clients. Mediation is not just a time saving exercise when compared to litigation through the courts. It can also help the company involved to avoid negative publicity, which is a victory in itself, Dr Spiteri Bailey points out. The prime concern of the mediator is not to find the solution but to help the parties come to a solution. “The settlement is always the parties’ settlement. When an agreement is reached, the mediator himself will ask the parties or the lawyers of the parties to draft the agreement themselves in the interests of their respective parties but based on the agreement that would have been reached,” Dr Spiteri Bailey explains. read


Why mediation works

As a Harvard law student two decades ago, I became involved in the well-known Harvard mediation program. After being trained as a volunteer mediator, I was sent to local small claims courts to help disputants resolve their conflict through a mediated agreement, rather than through a judge’s decision. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the vast majority of cases did, in fact, reach a mutually agreed-upon settlement. I was delighted with the outcomes, and increasingly interested in a specific question: why did mediation work? This question is heightened when you consider the limited tools which a mediator has. I could not force parties to agree. I could not give an expert opinion as to what they should do. I did not even have a strong relationship with these people – they were total strangers, who I had never met before and would never meet again.And yet, something powerful happened in mediation that worked. I dedicated my career to exploring that dynamic and using it with my clients in training, coaching, mediation, facilitation and other conflict resolution services. read


Nevada judge to act as mediator in Stockton Diocese bankruptcy

Last week, Judge Christopher Klein appointed a Nevada bankruptcy judge to act as a mediator in the Chapter 11 reorganization case of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Stockton. The judicial mediator is the Hon. Gregg W. Zive. Judge Zive is expected to convene mediation sessions between lawyers for the Diocese of Stockton and those representing its creditors. A status conference in the bankruptcy case is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 26 in Sacramento. “It is our hope that the issues in this case can be settled through mediation and that resolutions can be found that will be in the best interest of all involved,” Bishop Stephen Blaire said in a press release. “In bankruptcy cases, negotiated or mediated settlements result in faster outcomes and significantly lower costs than contested, litigated solutions.” Judge Zive is pictured. read


Sudan and South Sudan mediation continues amid conflict: Mbeki

Despite fierce fighting in South Sudan, efforts to address unresolved issues between the young nation and its northern neighbor Sudan continue, former South African President Thabo Mbeki said during an interview in Washington, DC last week. As published by our partner "The conflict in South Sudan has not changed the commitment of the two governments to implement what they've agreed," said Mbeki, who has led mediations between Sudan and South Sudan on behalf of the African Union. "We must continue to focus on that to ensure that the agreements are implemented." After years of war between Sudan's government and rebel armies in the south of the country, an internationally supervised referendum led to South Sudan's independence in July 2011. The African Union established a high-level panel, headed by Mbeki , to mediate unresolved issues between the two countries and prevent a resumption of the decades-long conflict. The panel also includes former heads-of-state Abdulsalami Abubakar of Nigeria and Pierre Buyoya of Burundi. In an interview with AllAfrica, Mbeki also welcomed the cessation-of-hostilities agreement in the south between the South Sudan government and troops led by former Vice President Riek Machar, brokered by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa (IGAD). read


The Scotsman: Family mediation can help fit the bill

Radical legislation in Scotland would ensure all are better served when partners separate, says Stuart Valentine. Family mediation helps resolve issues between separating couples more quickly and more cheaply than those cases that go through the courts. Family mediators work directly with separating partners to improve communication, reduce conflict and help the couple themselves agree on practical, workable arrangements for the future care of their children. It is estimated that around 70 per cent of mediations result in an agreement being reached. Mediation is currently receiving high levels of media attention across the UK. The Westminster government is progressing legislation to require separating couples involved in parenting or financial disputes to meet with a mediator prior to going to court. The new Children and Families Bill will, however, only apply to England and Wales. Scotland has a different legal system in the area of family law and currently there is no level of automatic compulsion for separating couples to consider family mediation. read


Mediation for Gabba pig man

A cricket fan who was found with a pet pig at the Gabba during the first Ashes test has agreed to undergo mediation with the RSPCA. Australian cricket fan David Gunn, 33, was charged with animal cruelty after the pig was allegedly smuggled into the Brisbane sportsground with its snout taped shut and disguised as a baby. Gunn was found holding the 10-12kg domestic pig, named Ash, on the first day of the test match between Australia and England in November. The Brisbane Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday that the case had been referred to mediation. read


Businesses increasingly find mediation a valuable tool for navigating the e-discovery process

A smart new alternative is for parties to agree to the use of a mediator to develop a mediated discovery plan (also known as e-mediation). This is a confidential mediation process used for the purpose of resolving disputes arising from ESI or e-discovery. Although e-mediation can be employed at virtually any stage of a dispute, it is often most effective when used as part of the “meet and confer” process in order to create a discovery plan. A key point of differentiation in using e-mediation, however, is that, unlike traditional mediation, discovery disputes must be resolved before a case can proceed to trial. As can be imagined, the use of a mediator early in the dispute process can save considerable time and money if it outlines specific search parameters, including (but not limited to) search terms, the process for preserving information, and whose data will be searched. Additionally, when initiating the e-mediation process, it's important that both parties are candid in their confidential disclosure of information to the e-mediator. read


Prison chief wants mediation re-opened in mental health suit

The plaintiffs in a lawsuit over care of mentally ill inmates in the state's prisons say they will respond soon to an offer by the state’s new prison chief to try mediation following a judge’s ruling last month against the agency.Bryan Stirling, director of the state Department of Corrections, said during a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday that he had sent a letter to the plaintiffs in the case to see if they would be willing to try mediation again and the agency’s plans to appeal the ruling might be put on hold if both sides engaged in mediation. “There are some things we probably can agree on,” Stirling told the Senate Corrections and Penology Committee about talks with the plaintiffs. “There may be some things that unless this General Assembly is going to give us a significant amount of money, that we’re not going to be able to do immediately. But we might as well do what we can together and worry about what we can’t later.” read


Public Service In Mediation Award Goes To Dr. Carol Berz

Dr. Carol Berz, owner of Private Dispute Resolution Services in downtown Chattanooga, will be recognized in Nashville on Feb. 14 with a prestigious honor: the 2014 Grayfield Gray Public Service in Mediation Award, presented by the Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee (CMAT). The Grayfield Gray Award seeks to honor those who have made “innovative and lasting public service contributions through alternative dispute resolution in Tennessee.” It is named after its first recipient Grayfred Gray, emeritus professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law and founder of UT’s Mediation Clinic. Past recipients have also included Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder as well as Nashville Second Circuit Court Judge Marietta Shipley. read


VA Mediation centers ask for more money to fund alternative to litigation

Nine conflict-resolution centers are asking the General Assembly for support. Hoping to ensure the continued availability of community-based mediation services, a coalition representing nine conflict-resolution centers in Virginia has asked the General Assembly to allocate $750,000 each this year and next to center-related expenses. The Supreme Court, which would receive and allocate any amount authorized, currently spends $1.7 million on the provision of mediation by both nonprofit centers’ mediators and private, fee-based providers. The new money would represent a 44 percent boost. read


Mediation or Arbitration: What’s the Difference?

When people disagree, they have choices on how to resolve their dispute. They can lawyer-up, file a lawsuit, and let a judge or jury decide who wins. They can also try to resolve the matter between themselves, they can engage in arbitration or they can go through mediation. Mediation is a relatively inexpensive and fast way to resolve disputes. It is a process conducted by a trained and experienced mediator, who may be a retired judge or a practicing or retired attorney. The parties, generally through their attorneys, prepare a mediation statement describing their statement of the dispute, prior settlement efforts, legal authorities of precedential value, and a description and interpretation of documentary support for their position. The statements are often exchanged prior to the mediation. Mediation is a confidential procedure. What is discussed during the mediation and any documents prepared specifically for the mediation remain confidential. If an agreement is reached, it is put into writing and that agreement is not confidential. It is normally embodied in a motion for approval of the settlement and presented to the court in which the case is pending. Sometimes there is no court proceeding, so the parties hold onto the agreement in case enforcement down the road is required. read


Turkish Mediation Law

Mediation has been recognized by the Turkish legal system with the announcement of the Turkish Mediation Act on Civil Disputes dated 22 June 2012 ("the Act" or "the Mediation Act") entered into force on 23 June 2013. Highlights of the Mediation Act and secondary legislation [The Regulation on the Mediation Act on Civil Disputes and the Model Codes of Conduct for Mediators and Mediation, (partly based on the European Code of Conduct for Mediators and internationally recognized codes of ethics and conduct)] with a particular focus on commercial disputes can be summarized as follows. read


Nonprofit seeks mediation in Second Harvest food bank dispute

In an effort to keep operating a regional food bank, the Lutheran Social Services board of directors voted late Wednesday to seek mediation with Feeding America, the national network of food banks.
Feeding America recently terminated the Jacksonville nonprofit’s contract to run a member food bank. The food bank, called Second Harvest North Florida, was placed on probation in July, with the network citing more than a decade of noncompliance in inventory control, record-keeping and facility issues. read


Mediation Update – Refusal To Mediate

The Courts have imposed costs sanctions on parties who they consider unreasonably refused to mediate. The sanctions include that a party who would normally be entitled to the costs of litigation would not recover them or only a reduced amount. Alternatively if the refusing party was ordered to pay costs that the amount payable by them would be increased to a higher basis than normal. Conceivably in an extreme case the Court could reverse the usual costs order that the loser pays a contribution to the winner's costs. A party who refuses to enter into ADR can also be subject to costs sanctions. read


Judges acting as mediators in serious criminal cases growing in popularity - 

District judge doesn't mediate his or her own case load.

Using judges to mediate serious crime cases seems to be gaining traction among prosecutors and defense attorneys in Shawnee County District Court, according to judges.  "We're seeing more mediation in criminal cases, period," Chief Judge Evelyn Wilson said. Mediation in serious criminal cases is a "tool" that more people have become interested in, Wilson said.  In a criminal case, if the prosecutor and the defendant and defense attorney reach an agreement through mediation about what the conviction and penalty should be, then each side has had some control over the case, Wilson said.  "I think it's going very well," District Judge Cheryl Kingfisher said of the mediation of the more serious criminal cases. "The goal of mediation is to bring as much justice as you can to as many people as you can." read


Apparel Industry Voices: Mediation or Arbitration: What’s The Difference?

When people disagree, they have choices on how to resolve their dispute. They can lawyer-up, file a lawsuit, and let a judge or jury decide who wins. They can also try to resolve the matter between themselves, they can engage in arbitration or they can go through mediation. read


Arbitrator’s bill in porn-watching teacher case: $48,600

That’s how much taxpayers in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District paid for the services of Karen Mawhinney, the arbitrator who ordered the reinstatement of a seventh-grade science teacher fired for viewing multiple pornographic images and videos at school. The total bill was $48,600, split between the school district and the Middleton Education Association, the teachers union that represented Andrew Harris in what arbitration experts, including Mawhinney, described as an “extraordinary” process. read


Man In Road Rage Case Has Case Sent To Mediation

The Indiana doctor charged in a road rage incident in Madison County had his case referred to mediation. Doctor Perrin Dobyns is facing a felony a charge of first degree wanton endangerment. He was caught on cell phone video pointing a gun at a driver during an alleged road rage incident on Interstate-75 last October. His attorney said he had a BB gun. read


U of L seeks mediation in battle with Norton Healthcare

The University of Louisville this week filed a response to legal proceedings in its ongoing fight with Norton Healthcare over access to Kosair Children’s Hospital and its revenue and is seeking court-ordered mediation. Dr. David Dunn, executive vice president for health affairs at UofL, said in a statement that the motion for mediation was “to head off costly litigation so that precious resources are spent on sick kids instead of lawyers.” read


A Manhattan Experiment in Mandatory Mediation

New York City’s legal world is a place of struggle and flight, where armies of smart — and occasionally ignorant — lawyers clash by day and night. But under a new pilot program proposed by the state’s court system, litigants otherwise headed to court for battle might be forced to first try to talk out their differences. That’s right: Mandatory mediation may soon be coming to Manhattan. The state’s court system is poised to launch a pilot program in Manhattan Supreme Court that would require that every fifth case assigned to judges in its commercial division go to mediation. The plan — first floated by a judicial task force in 2012 – could help lighten the caseload of a court system under tough budgetary pressure. The Manhattan Supreme Court carries a particularly heavy docket, especially within its commercial division. The task force found that mediation is “substantially underutilized in New York.” read

January 2014

DAs request mediation in grand jury petitioner's lawsuit

A judge agreed Monday to delay a hearing in District Attorney Janice Steidley’s defamation lawsuit against six grand jury petitions, allowing for the parties to mediate. Steidley requested the postponement. If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the hearing to consider dismissal of the lawsuit will be rescheduled. Steidley and her top assistants sued the sponsors of the grand jury petition the day after Tulsa County District Judge Jefferson Sellers rejected it in mid-October 2013, due to petitioners use of unauthorized forms to gather 7,711 validated voter signatures. The prosecutors claimed the petitioners defamed them with false, malicious accusations of criminal acts and malfeasance in office. They are seeking more than a half-million dollars in damages. read


Mediation is next step for proposed subdivision

Those for and against a proposed subdivision near the Shakespeare Festival have a few weeks to sort out their differences through mediation. The developer's plans call for 43 homes. The closest would be just 620 feet from the stage. "As the homes sell or even people just get tired of it, there are going to be a lot of complaints, and it's going to be a big mess," said Thomas Omstead of Boise, "and ultimately, I think they're going to have to close down that theater." Boise City Council members have been trying to find a compromise so that both can co-exist. They could make a decision to approve or deny the development on March 18. read


MBC, four agencies continue mediation talks, ask for prayer

Although they continue to disagree on a solution, representatives of the Missouri Baptist Convention and four formerly affiliated agencies have agreed to continue to talk about an end to litigation, now in its 12th year. Meeting Jan. 14-16 in Columbia, organizational heads and attorneys presented their perspective on issues at the heart of legal action the MBC filed against the four — Windermere Baptist Conference Center, The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist University and the Missouri Baptist Foundation — and Word&Way. The news journal was later dropped from the litigation. The talks were “civil and conducted in a spirit of openness,” and each participant “expressed a desire to have a meaningful relationship...and to work together for the benefit of all Missouri Baptists,” the release said. read


Advocates: More Money Needed for Foreclosure Mediation

Oregon's foreclosure rate is higher than the national average, according to a new financial scorecard. It gives the state a "D" for a housing market that is unaffordable for many and still pulling out of the mortgage crisis. Advocates for homeowners at risk say the low grade is no surprise, and they will soon ask the legislature for more funding for foreclosure mediation. Lenders in Oregon are now required to offer alternatives to keep people from losing their homes. Emily Reiman, Opportunity Works manager for NEDCO, a nonprofit neighborhood development group, says homeowners are lining up since the Foreclosure Avoidance Program went into effect in August. read


Readington officials and Solberg Airport owners agree to mediation in long-standing condemnation fight

Formal mediation between the township and the Solberg family is expected to start in early February, Mayor Julia Allen said today, Jan. 29. A mediator has been agreed upon, setting the process in motion for the first time since Readington voters in 2006 approved a $22 million bond ordinance, essentially requiring the township to either acquire the 625 open acres surrounding the airport and the development rights to about 100 acres used for airport operations, or to negotiate a settlement with the airport owners. read


Clarifying Arbitration vs. Mediation vs. Litigation

Question: What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?
Arbitration is a method of finally determining a dispute. The end result is an award which is similar to a Court Order in that it is final and binding upon the parties and can be enforced against the parties in the same way as a judgment of the Court. In an arbitration, a neutral third party – the arbitrator – hears the evidence and makes a decision as to who is right and who is wrong. In a mediation, on the other hand, the neutral third party – the mediator – makes no such determination, but rather focuses on trying to assist the parties to come to a negotiated mutually satisfactory settlement or compromise of the matters in dispute. Sometimes, the mediator is successful, in which case, the dispute is over. Sometimes the mediator is not successful, in which case the dispute continues on. ... read


East China Sea dispute is ripe for US mediation

When the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe declared at Davos that his country’s conflict with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands shares similarities with the first world war (“End drift to war in the East China Sea”, editorial, January 24), he was basically reaching out to potential third parties for assistance in arresting the dynamics of a potentially hot conflict that neither he nor his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping can control. A conflict resolution theory associated with American political scientist I William Zartman may account for the timing of this bold challenge. Mr Abe may have come to believe that Japan’s territorial conflict with China is “ripe” for negotiation and mediation because it has developed into a “mutually hurting stalemate” where both parties realise they are in a potentially costly situation from which they cannot escape by traditional, power-based approaches, for example escalation. The parties may also feel that allowing the conflict to continue might lead to a catastrophic war through accident or miscalculation. read


Mediation for Architects 101

Disputes happen; whether over assigning responsibility for mistakes or rectifying payment schedules, they’re a fact of life in the construction industry. But they need not lead to bitterness or lengthy and expensive court battles. Standard AIA contracts provide an easier means of solution, through mediation, which gives architects, clients, contractors, and their lawyers an opportunity to take a creative, cooperative approach to problem resolution. The outcome of a mediation can be quick and relatively painless; indeed, some mediations end in a “win/win” for everyone involved. read


Is family mediation in crisis? Cambridge mediators discuss

There are rarely any winners when a family is dragged through the trauma of divorce. As well as the emotional strain, separation throws up a multitude of practical issues to be resolved – financial costs, child custody – and since April 2013, cuts to legal aid advice for family law appear to have made this unpleasant experience a little more unpleasant. The Government had initially hoped the cuts would encourage separating couples to seek out family mediation, for which legal aid is still available, rather than turning to the courtroom battlefield. But, despite the Government’s hopes for less clogged-up courts, new figures appear to show that the opposite is happening. Figures from a Freedom of Information request by London family mediator Marc Lopatin reveal that the number of people in Cambridge seeking family mediation fell by 47 per cent between April and October in 2013. The number of family mediations getting under way in the Cambridge area also fell by a third compared to the same period in 2012/13. read


Syria War Foes Meet Face-to-Face With UN Mediator Brahimi

Syria’s government and opposition sat at the same U-shaped table today for their first face-to-face meeting at peace talks mediated by the United Nations. The meeting, which began at 10 a.m. Geneva time, lasted less than an hour and will be followed by another this afternoon, Rafif Jouejati, an opposition spokeswoman, said by phone. Each delegation was addressed by Lakhdar Brahimi, the Algerian official who leads the UN mediation effort, Jouejati said. There was no handshaking or any interaction between the two groups, she added. read


Mediation Opening Statements: You Gotta Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Fold 'Em

In most insurance coverage disputes, the parties arrive at mediation fully aware of the other side’s position. An insured makes its position known when it submits the claim or during the claim adjustment, and an insurer presents its position when it either accepts or denies coverage. Odds are, there will be no “smoking gun” document waived around at mediation—no “ah-ha” Perry Mason moment. Typically, the mediation opens with both sides showing their best photos of the loss or damage, an estimate, and maybe an expert report or two. After this big production, the parties split to their respective conference rooms. A common scenario to follow typically involves an initial demand from the insured for millions of dollars and an initial settlement offer from the carrier in the range of $10,000. This kind of scenario, involving seemingly-meaningless presentations (because they are often followed by essentially the same response regardless of the strength of the parties’ respective positions) raises the following questions discussed below. read


Medical Liability: Early Discussion and Resolution in Oregon

This spring, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 483 creating Early Discussion and Resolution—an innovative approach to medical liability reform. Early Discussion and Resolution is a confidential, voluntary and structured process for healthcare providers and patients to notify, discuss, and (if necessary) mediate serious adverse events as an alternative to litigation. Early Discussion and Resolution (EDR) is a voluntary process that creates a safe space for patients and their families to have an open conversation with healthcare facilities and/or providers when a patient unexpectedly experiences serious physical injury or death as a result of their medical care rather than their illness. EDR is a patient-centered approach to care after harm that gives healthcare facilities and providers a way to continue caring for patients and their families, to learn from undesired outcomes, and to prevent harm to patients in the future. Oregon’s Early Discussion and Resolution process will be operational on July 1, 2014. At that time, a patient, healthcare facility, or provider (if the event occurs outside of a healthcare facility) will be able to file a notice of adverse healthcare incident with the Oregon Patient Safety Commission to initiate the Early Discussion and Resolution process. read


Study: People prefer mediation in civil cases

People involved in civil lawsuits prefer mediation to nonbinding arbitration and like judge trials better than jury trials, a new study by a University of California Davis law professor concludes. Overall, litigants like mediation, trials before judges and negotiations that include participants along with their attorneys more than all other forms of alternative dispute resolution, the study by Donna Shestowsky shows. The findings could help courts struggling to deliver civil justice in the face of budget cuts decide what kind of alternative dispute resolutions programs to offer. read


Platinum sector set for mediation talks

The union behind a mass strike at South Africa’s top three platinum mines has agreed to state mediation. Joseph Mathunjwa, head of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), said the union “will be part of the negotiations” tentatively set for January 24.  “It’s a mediation meeting between the unions and the mine owners,” Labour Ministry spokesman Musa Zondi said. The mining bosses have long been ready for any talks that could end the unrest in the key mining sector. But Amcu said it wanted clearance from its members to join the talks, which it secured at a rally in Marikana yesterday. Up to 80000 platinum mine workers downed tools demanding that entry-level wages be more than doubled. read


Court Sends United Healthcare and Physicians to Mediation

A federal appeals court in New York City this week directed United Healthcare and 2 county medical societies in Connecticut to try settling a lawsuit filed by the societies after the insurer dropped thousands of physicians there from its Medicare Advantage network last year. The ultimate resolution of the case could affect physicians in other states who have been cut loose by United Healthcare in a cost-cutting move. read