Mediation in Today's News

October 2013

Lawyer Sees Mediation as the Way of the Future

Neal O'Toole, who spent a career trying to win lawsuits in court, has done a U-turn. Now, he works to prevent cases from going to court. O'Toole, 53, started Central Florida Mediation Group in Highland City in 2009. The company provides a variety of mediations, including in lawsuits, lawsuit threats, foreclosures, labor disputes and disagreements over appraisal amounts. read


Rush Limbaugh: Shutdown 2013 mediation

A skilled mediator and negotiator would not be put off by President Obama’s and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s refusal to sit down with John Boehner and Republican legislators to negotiate an end to Shutdown 2013. Getting the parties to the table is often the first hurdle to overcome in a conflict of this magnitude.
Additionally, there has to be an appreciation for the value of conflict resolution as a legitimate political tool. read


Hooters Securities Case Kicked To Mediation

A Florida federal judge on Tuesday sent to mediation the putative class action brought by disgruntled shareholders alleging a Hooters franchisee lied about its South African restaurants’ financial statements being audited before an ill-fated $10.1 million initial public offering.  Chief Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer of the Southern District of Florida signed the mediation order in the dispute between shareholders and Chanticleer Holdings Inc., requiring all parties to agree on a mediator within 14 days. read


Mediation key to other disputes, why not the shutdown?

Maybe it's time to call in a mediator -- if there's one not on furlough. President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans are in stalemate over a partial government shutdown now in its second week. And a looming crisis over the federal debt limit is rapidly approaching, with economists saying that could have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy. "What they really need is someone to create a safe place for them to begin to talk about getting some of the issues resolved so they could at least begin to get the government going again," said Rocco Scanza, executive director of the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution at Cornell University. read


Mediation Urged in Maryland Black Colleges Lawsuit

Attorneys representing historically black colleges said Tuesday they hope Maryland will embrace mediation to create high-demand academic programs at the schools, now that a federal judge has ruled the state is violating desegregation law by perpetuating the duplication of programs at predominantly white colleges. read


Joan Kelly is presented with the second annual "Getting to Yes Award" by the Acad, of Prof. Family Mediators (APFM)

Well-known divorce researcher and mediator Joan Kelly, Ph.D., was presented with the Academy of Professional Family Mediator's second annual "Getting to Yes Award" at the APFM's just completed conference in Denver.  Kelly has been instrumental in bringing leading research into divorce mediation practice.  Kelly was presented with her award by APFM President Rod Wells and APFM Conference Chair Ken Neumann. read


Want to resolve conflicts? Start listening to the other side - Grande Lum challenged to get to ACR Conference

Grande Lum was unsure a few days ago whether he’d still be visiting the Twin Cities this week. The reason is almost funny. Lum is keynote speaker for the annual Association for Conflict Resolution conference, which will bring hundreds of professionals to Minneapolis to share fresh ways to help people get along. But Lum also is director of community relations at the U.S. Department of Justice. Thanks to the intractable government shutdown, Lum is ­prohibited from traveling. As of Monday, he couldn’t even come on his own dime to share fresh ways to help people get along. read


The city's mediators help avoid lengthy and costly court battles

Despite a growing pool of mediators, Hong Kong is yet to fully embrace the idea of dispute resolution.  There's a lot to be said for bringing parties together to talk things out, not least of which is avoiding the cost and stress of legal battles. "While a court case is a zero-sum game with a winner and loser, parties in mediation can think outside the box, discuss and agree on a settlement that is acceptable to both sides," says Denys Look Ting-wah, president of the Hong Kong Mediation Alliance, a company grouping 340 mediators. read


Fight over Pearson Air Museum halted as Pearson Trust, Parks Service agree to mediation

While mediation over the fate of the Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver continued behind closed doors, dozens of airplane buffs and curious kids poked at antique airplanes and flight simulators during a recent public celebration at Pearson Field Airport. read


Agriculture mediation promoted at CNY Farm Progress Show

The event showcased a variety of agriculture-related products and services targeted to the agriculture community, one of which was the Community Dispute Resolution Center of Herkimer County.  Michael Kapala, program director of the dispute resolution center and regional agriculture mediation coordinator, explained mediators are trained and experienced in helping people discuss issues and emotions, identify and consider options, and, if they wish, to agree on mutually acceptable solutions. read


Georgia appeals for Germany's mediation to resolve dispute with Russia

Georgia appeals for Germany's mediation to resolve dispute with Russia, Georgia's Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said after a meeting with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in Berlin on October 8. "Berlin can play a positive role in eliminating sharp corners in the relations between Georgia and Russia," Panjikidze said. According to Panjikidze, now the situation has greatly deteriorated in the zone of conflict in South Ossetia, where the process of arranging the so-called border has began, and we ask Berlin to play the role of mediator in resolving this issue with Moscow. read


Northside nurses' access to mediator may be affected by federal shutdown

No contract talks are scheduled between ValleyCare Northside Medical Center and its registered nurses, and there is only a slight chance the federal mediator assigned to the dispute will call a meeting. Regular services of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which provides mediation services in labor conflicts, have been suspended because of the federal government shutdown. During this time, FMCS will provide essential collective-bargaining mediation in labor negotiations involving national defense industries, utilities (power generation and negotiation impacting a nuclear facility) and health care (hospital) industries, according to the FMCS website. read


Disputing parties enter formal mediation over mid-level dental providers

Advocates for licensing a new class of dental provider in Kansas for years have been pushing for passage of legislation that would allow advanced hygienists to do things such as temporary fillings, tooth extractions, and filing sharp edges off teeth. They say approval of a new type of dental practitioner would help address Kansas' large and growing shortage of dentists by letting hygienists with additional training perform common, routine procedures. But the state's leading dentist association has opposed the move, saying only those with the advanced training of a dentist can do the work safely. Movement toward compromise? The gridlock has entered a new phase. The two sides have entered formal mediation with the goal of finding a compromise they can take to the Legislature for consideration. read


Lawyers urge mediation in meningitis cases

The lead counsel for plaintiffs suing over the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak has issued a stern warning to defendants, including a Nashville clinic, that they will face vigorous federal litigation if they refuse to participate in a court-approved mediation program to aid victims. read


US Tries to Mediate Lebanon-Israel Maritime Border Dispute

Official Israeli circles said that the Lebanese government is in the process of granting licenses to explore for oil and gas in a Mediterranean region that Israel claims as part of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). With that announcement, the Israeli-Lebanese dispute over their maritime border is out in the open, despite news that US mediation had achieved great successes in resolving that issue. The subject of oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean was a main meeting topic between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited Washington on Oct. 1, and US Vice President Joe Biden, who is handling that issue. The results of that meeting have not been announced. read


CAN: Deaf athletes to get more sign language help following mediation

Manitoba will set aside up to $40,000 a year to help deaf children participating in amateur sport communicate with their teammates, coaches and game officials following a human rights complaint.  Two parents of deaf children initially approached the Manitoba Human Rights Commission complaining that lack of money for sign language services made it harder for some deaf children to participate in sports. The parents said the lack of interpretive services meant their children couldn’t participate fully in sports, develop leadership skills and have the same advantages as their peers. All parties agreed to mediation through the commission and came up with a solution. read


Mediation 101: Be a Prepared Participant So You Win Your Mediation

That’s right – the title suggests you can win in mediation even though many say that you will walk away from a settlement either angry or disappointed. With proper preparation you, the client, can leave mediation feeling like a winner and with an agreement in hand. The key, as in most things in life, is to be prepared. read


Recent Court Decisions Shine a Renewed Light on the Desirability of Employee Arbitration Agreements

Recent court decisions significantly increase the enforceability of employee arbitration agreements, and also make enforceable a properly drafted waiver of an employee’s right to file a class action in court. read


'Til Age 50 Do Us Part: Divorce Commonplace Among Baby Boomers

These days, marriage is more of a long-term lease than a forever sentiment. That’s because according to the latest reports on divorce statistics, more Americans age 50 and up are divorced than widowed – and that’s the first time since 1990. A recent article published at The New York Times tells us that divorce rates among those 50 and older has grown in the last fifty years from 2.8 percent to 15.4 percent. read


UAE: Mediation ends family row over second wife

A woman has forced her elderly husband to divorce his second wife after she came to know about his new marriage after 30 years of being married.  The battle began when the wife confronted the husband with his second marriage and insisted he divorce the second wife and disown his child and declare that he is not his father on the grounds that he was not able to copulate and reproduce. Yet, the husband stuck to his second wife and his little son. He said he was fertile and the case was moved to the Family Guidance and Reform Section in Abu Dhabi Judicial Department. read


Mediation Perspectives: Preventing Clashes over Religion and Free Speech

September marks the first anniversary of Muslim outrage over the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims. The furor over the crude video clip depicting Muhammad as a womanizing buffoon was the latest installment in a series of disputes over Western depictions of the Prophet. As some liberal secularists think that Muslims who are reluctant to accept the principle of free speech are best dealt with by habituation – constantly exposing them to (possibly offensive) free speech -, further explosive incidences of giving and taking offence can be expected. read


UK: Mediation services hit by legal aid cuts, Ministry of Justice figures reveal

Number of couples attending out-of-court sessions to resolve family disputes falls by half since April. Statistics compiled by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show that the number of couples attending out-of-court sessions to resolve family disputes since cuts to legal aid were introduced in April have plummeted by 47%. read

September 2013

The Netherlands updates its Arbitration Act

In April 2013 the Dutch government published a bill for the 'modernisation of Netherlands arbitration law'. Among other things, the bill aims to ensure the continued appeal of the Netherlands Arbitration Act (1986) to international users. Some of the changes that are proposed in the bill are discussed. read


Innovative changes for Belgium’s arbitration rules

This year Belgium has already seen significant reforms in its arbitration rules. These innovative changes include the adoption of a new Arbitration Act and the adoption of new Arbitration and Mediation Rules by the Belgian Centre of Arbitration and Mediation (CEPANI). read


Chief justice's felony mediation program draws fire

Better justice, sooner, is the theme of a felony case load program being tested by Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau, which has quickly drawn criticism from county attorneys.  Nadeau's idea is to resolve felony cases faster — possibly within a month instead of the usual year — through mediation, in some instances guided by a retired judge. She said the trial program is modeled after one in Phoenix, Ariz., and allows parties involved in felony cases to negotiate plea deals, outside of courtrooms, through private negotiations.  read


Alex Rodriguez's Arbitration Hearing Set to Begin

Alex Rodriguez gets to start arguing his case Monday. The Yankees slugger is appeal a 211-game suspension for his alleged involvement in the Biogenesis clinic. In a hearing room before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, lawyers for the Yankees third baseman will argue why the 211-game suspension imposed by the MLB Aug. 5 should be overturned. read


Rockford schools fight cyberbullying with face-to-face mediation

Years ago, if someone wanted to spread a rumor or make fun of a classmate, they’d grab a pen and scrawl a mean message on the bathroom stall or use word-of-mouth during passing periods. Today, social media allow young people to reach more people much more quickly and do it in a way where they never have to actually say the words aloud. read


Colombia rejects US hostage mediation offer

President Santos says he will not allow the FARC rebels a "media spectacle" by using US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.  Colombia's president has rejected the involvement of US civil rights activist Jesse Jackson in mediating the release of a former US Marine kidnapped by FARC rebels. President Juan Manuel Santos said on Saturday he would not allow the FARC rebels a "media spectacle" by using Jackson as a negotiator for the release of kidnapped Afghanistan war veteran Kevin Scott Sutay. read


NCAA headed to mediation in landmark concussion case

The NCAA is heading to mediation with the plaintiffs of a landmark concussion lawsuit. Both sides in the lawsuit filed two years ago against the NCAA by former Eastern Illinois defensive back Adrian Arrington (and three others) have agreed to the mediation process on Nov. 1. The NCAA and a plaintiffs' attorney told of the mediation independently. Both sides say the date is subject to change. Citing court documents, the Birmingham News reported earlier this month both sides were scheduled for a November mediation. Former federal judge Layn Phillips is expected to be the mediator presiding over the hearing. Phillips last month helped the NFL and NFLPA reach a settlement over a long-running head trauma dispute. read


Foreclosure mediation law may help Nevadans keep their homes

A new law starting October 1 will help Nevadans stay in their homes.  For homeowners who are facing foreclosure changes to the states foreclosure mediation law effective October 1 could help turn things around.  Nevadans foreclosure mediation law allows homeowners and lenders to discuss alternatives to foreclosure with the help of a trained mediator. read


Mediator to take on disputes at Leawood retirement center

A mediator – with a district attorney watching – will try next month to resolve the financial morass entrapping residents of the Villas at Grace Gardens in Leawood.  The upscale independent living facility has been a legal battleground for more than two years. A dozen lawsuits have sprouted like weeds from the complaints of current and former residents, lenders and state officials. read


Idaho Business Review: Mediation can save time and money

When conflict erupts, firing one or both employees is one costly solution. A better solution is using a professional mediator. A well-trained mediator can defuse tensions, help the parties involved hear each others’ concerns, and aid in drafting a plan of action to avoid problems in the future. One afternoon can make a surprising difference. read


NJ Appellate Division Says That Mediator Cannot Then Serve As Arbitrator

From the court: "We conclude the positions of arbitrator and mediator are in conflict. An arbitrator must "maintain 'broad public confidence in the integrity and fairness of the [arbitration] process . . . If the same person acts as a mediator, obtains party confidences or offers opinions on the issues in dispute, a conflict arises were he or she to then switch roles to act as an arbitrator, making the final call. read


Rival gang members to meet at mediation sessions to stop violence in Croydon

Rival gang members are set to start mediation sessions to stop tensions spilling over into violence. Croydon Council and police, who are working together under the Safer Croydon Partnership, want to bring gangs to the discussion table to diffuse tensions before rivalries worsen. read



Why mediate? A claimant’s guide to the pros and cons of mediation

Following a recent reform of the civil justice system suggested by the government, this is an appropriate time for claimants and defendants alike to think about mediation.  All small claims under £5,000 will now initially be automatically referred to mediation. Some critics are describing the government’s proposals as akin to making parties participate in a compulsory mediation, which they say is in contravention of human rights law. Others are less sceptical.  All construction contracts must adhere to the pre-action protocol for construction and engineering disputes, which details the steps a party must take to try to resolve the matter before proceeding with litigation. read


Lender Request for Foreclosure Mediation Skyrockets in Oregon

The newly revamped Oregon Foreclosure Avoidance Program has received 456 meeting requests since its unveiling six weeks ago. Significantly, the vast majority of those requests came from lenders, most of which declined to participate in the program in its first year of operation. That’s an enormous jump from the corresponding six weeks of 2012, when private lenders referred just one case to mediation. In the first 13 months, lenders sent 286 pending foreclosures through the program. Indications are that in coming weeks some of the nation’s largest banks could refer hundreds of additional cases to the new program. read


UK: Finality At Mediation: Legally Binding Agreements

In many respects Frost is a case that highlights the benefits of mediation as a mechanism of resolving disputes. Two brothers, David and Ron Frost, engaged in a long-running and acrimonious dispute, sought to extricate themselves from their shared property and business interests. In addition to the bitter relationship between the brothers, the legalities of their business interests were complex and opaque, with the Judge at first instance referring to the shared property portfolio as "a conveyancer's nightmare". At an impasse, the brothers both sought legal representation and ultimately sought to mediate the dispute. read


Not easy to eject Islamists in Tunisia: After mediation and protests come new protests

Tunisia's main trade union confederation said it would launch a protest campaign Wednesday to pressure the ruling Islamist party into accepting mediators' proposals for ending two months of political deadlock. The UGTT, which has been leading the mediation efforts, said in a post on its Facebook page that gatherings would take place in the Ariana suburb of Tunis on Wednesday, and in different locations outside the capital on Thursday. The powerful confederation, which boasts 500,000 members and is capable of bringing the country to a standstill, warned on Monday of plans to call nationwide peaceful mass protests across Tunisia to end the crisis sparked by the July assassination of opposition MP Mohamed Brahmi. read


Protesters and McDonald's to go to mediation over Tecoma site

TECOMA protesters and McDonald's have been ordered to go to mediation to settle their dispute.  McDonald's sought a permanent injunction against the protesters, dubbed "The Tecoma Eight", which would mean none of the named people would be able to set foot on the restaurant site. Justice Kyrou extended the injunction stopping protesters from trespassing or blocking workers from entering the site. Last week McDonald's dropped its claim for damages against the Tecoma Eight. McDonald's Australia spokeswoman Skye Oxenham confirmed the company was no longer pursuing damages in the legal proceedings but would still seek legal costs incurred so far. No Macca's spokeswoman Simone Patterson said the Tecoma Eight faced financial ruin if made to pay legal costs. "At that mediation there will be an opportunity to discuss any issues concerning the injunction, as well as the matter of legal costs," Ms Patterson said. read


Gambia's Scout Chief Takes Mediation Role in Bissau

The chief scout commissioner (CSC) of The Gambia Scout Association (GSA), Pa Omar Bojang has been task to mediate the long running internal wrangling between the two scouting factions in Guinea Bissau that has seriously disturbed the growth and development of scouting in the country. The President of the African Regional Scouting Committee based in Nairobi, Kenya thus mandated Pa Omar Bojang to intervene. read


Don’t leave foreclosed home just yet, Cuyahoga County official advises

Andrea Kinast has seen a lot in her five years as program director with the Foreclosure Mediation Department of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. As part of September’s Save Our Homes month, she is traveling throughout the area to foster foreclosure prevention and also to let homeowners know foreclosure doesn’t mean automatic eviction. read


Pakistan police stations to have mediation committees to improve efficiency

In order to resolve problems of the citizens on priority basis and promote friendly policing, mediation committees will be formed in all police stations of the federal capital. Human rights officials will also be appointed in the police stations to change the ‘thana culture’ and ensure non-discriminatory investigations of cases. This decision was made in meeting presided over by Islamabad Inspector General (IG) Sikandar Hayat and attended by higher officials of the police. The IG said the formation of the mediation committees are aimed at settling minor fights and conflicts between rival groups and avoiding registration of small disputes. He said each committee will comprise of five persons including non-political persons, lawyers, educationists, traders etc. Each committee will be led by a station house officer (SHO), who will be human rights officer as well, he added. read


The art of litigating clearly

“We’re just being reasonable”; “Come on, be rational!”; “You’re not thinking clearly!” Lawyers and parties often make or hear statements such as these in the course of litigation — especially when attempting to negotiate a settlement with the opposing side at mediation. Yet how do people really know when they are engaging in rational thinking? Do lawyers unconsciously enable their clients to engage in poor reasoning leading to poor decisions? read


Adoptive parents take custody of Veronica from biological father

Baby Veronica’s biological family handed over the 4-year-old girl Monday night, giving her back to her adoptive parents from South Carolina. The child's transfer of custody was formally announced by Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree. In an interview with the Tulsa World, Hembree said a district court order was issued about 4:30 p.m. to hand over Veronica. The order came after the Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted its ruling that had kept Veronica in her biological father's custody while the appeals played out. Cherokee County Sheriff's Office undersheriff Jason Chennault said his office received the court order at 5 p.m. By 7:30 p.m., Veronica was with the Capobiancos. "The court order was directed to us, so we served it," Chennault said. "We gave the Browns time to say goodbye and pack some things for Veronica, some clothes and things." The Cherokee Nation was prepared to require that the court order giving custody to the child's adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, be domesticated in tribal court, Hembree said. But Dusten Brown, the girl's biological father, decided that it was in Veronica's best interests to proceed with a "peaceful and respectful transfer," Hembree said. read


Rinehart Allowed Mediation After Arbitration Bid Rejected

Gina Rinehart, after failing to persuade an Australian judge to have a family dispute over a multibillion-dollar trust resolved by an arbitrator, won her bid for a final mediation attempt. Supreme Court Justice Patricia Bergin in Sydney today dismissed Rinehart’s bid to stop the trial and refer the dispute to arbitration. Bergin granted Rinehart’s request for mediation, to be held before Sept. 26, and if the dispute isn’t resolved the judge scheduled a five-day trial to start Oct. 8, a week later than originally planned. read


St. Mary’s College High to expand after mediation

St. Mary’s College High School got the go-ahead last Wednesday for its master plan to add two buildings and renovate others. The move followed six months of mediation with its North Berkeley neighbors. The private Catholic college preparatory high school sits on 12.5 acres, surrounded by about 100 homes in North Berkeley and Albany. read


Judge opens mediation talks in Detroit bankruptcy

A judge told a courtroom packed with lawyers Tuesday that deals between Detroit and its creditors would be better than years of "horrendous" litigation in the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history. Eastern Michigan's chief federal judge, Gerald Rosen, opened the first formal round of mediation by giving a pep talk and introducing other experts who will work with the city and its creditors to try to reach settlements while the bankruptcy case moves separately through court. "I take this assignment with buoyancy and hope," Rosen told attorneys as he stood in the well of the courtroom, down from his usual seat on the bench. read


Expanded state foreclosure mediation program seeing more cases

An expanded state foreclosure mediation program is showing far more promise for homeowners than its 2012 launch, a virtual nonstarter. In the first six weeks since the expansion took effect in August, the program has received 456 requests for face-to-face meetings between mortgage borrowers and lenders. Many of the requests came from banks as part of the foreclosure process. In the six weeks after the program mediation program initially launched in July 2012, it received only one mediation case referred by a private lender, and only 286 in the entire 13 months it was in effect. read


Heineken Cup makes final pitch to English and French to attend mediation

The Heineken Cup organisers are making a final attempt to save the competition by asking the French and English clubs, who are organising a rival tournament from next season, to attend talks with a mediator next month. The English club owners met on Wednesday and issued a terse statement which appeared to slam the door on any more negotiations with European Rugby Cup Ltd after 15 months of dialogue that has achieved nothing. The clubs want to take control of the running of the Heineken Cup and the Amlin Challenge Cup, something the three Celtic unions and Italy are not prepared to consider. read


Gilt trip: Detroit's bankruptcy mediation is unfolding in a 'million dollar courtroom'

Detroit is home to the "million dollar courtroom." And that's where the city's bankruptcy will be mediated. When the creditors in the Chapter 9 case show up for their first official mediation session Tuesday, they'll be entering Courtroom 734 in the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse. That's the home of Chief Judge Gerald Rosen, who presides over the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. There in Rosen's domain they'll find an opulence to remind them of Detroit's former wealth. read


Arbitration case launched against New Doha International Airport

Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) has filed a circa AED 900 million ($250 million) international arbitration claim against the New Doha International Airport (NDIA). Linder Depa is a joint venture company between Dubai-based interior contractor Depa Limited and Germany’s Lindner AG. The arbitration proceeding has been commenced in the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris, France.  read