Mediation in Today's News

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August 2020
8/04

U.S. judge denies claims Uber won price-fixing suit because arbitrator was scared

A U.S. judge denied a request by an Uber customer to overturn an arbitration win for the company in a price-fixing case over claims the arbitrator only ruled in Uber’s favor because he was scared.

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Mediation a possibility in Columbus statue dispute in Pueblo

The city of Pueblo is exploring setting up mediation sessions between the two sides in the ongoing Columbus statue saga here in hopes of a compromise being reached that both parties are satisfied with.

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VIEW: Online mediation for commercial disputes has huge potential for practitioners

Online mediation has obvious advantages, other than protecting oneself from the virus. The participants have the option of scheduling a conference at odd hours if convenient to all. It is relatively easier to ensure the attendance of persons because the need for commuting and travel is obviated. The participants can attend the conference in comfort from just anywhere.

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The New COVID-19 Wrinkle: In-Person Mediation Sparks Concerns

It's a case that highlights the plethora of new predicaments that COVID-19 puts judges, litigators and clients in as they try to navigate a new normal.

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Arguments between couples: Our neurons like mediation

When couples argue, mediation improves the outcome of the confrontation. But that's not all: mediation is also linked to heightened activity in key regions of the brain belonging to the reward circuit. This is the first time that a controlled, randomized study has succeeded in demonstrating the advantages of mediation for couple conflicts and identifying a related biological signature.

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Supervisor: Federal relief, mediation needed to avoid large scale evictions in Santa Clara County

'Things are going to get a lot worse in the next 60 to 90 days,' Dave Cortese says

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Rhode Island Tries Pairing Mediation And Cash To Head Off Evictions

The Safe Harbor program started last month and is designed to head off evictions through mediation and rental assistance before court cases render tenants homeless. Funding comes from federal coronavirus relief.

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Back To The Future - Where Does Mediation Go From Here?

We all want to get past our present state of affairs and back to a future where coronavirus doesn't impact our day-to-day existence. What will Mediation look like when that day arrives? Will there be in-person Mediations? Will there be virtual Mediations utilizing videoconferencing? Will there be Mediation sessions employing both in-person and remote participation simultaneously?

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Climate Change Disputes Take Center Stage at Paris Arbitration Week

There is increasing awareness about the interconnected nature of climate-related issues such as biodiversity loss, health, human rights, security and inequality. Indeed, climate change disputes are on the rise, and the International Bar Association (the “IBA”), in its 2014 report (Achieving Justice and Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption), called for the immediate creation of an international ad hoc arbitral body specifically for environmental litigation and the eventual establishment of an International Court for the Environment.

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July 2020
7/28

These Furloughed Workers Must Sign Arbitration Agreements To Get Their Jobs Back

The situation at The Container Store underscores how little leverage workers have during a global pandemic with sky-high unemployment.

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FINRA Extends Postponement of In-Person Arbitration and Mediation Hearings

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, FINRA has extended the postponement of all in-person arbitration and mediation hearings scheduled through September 4, 2020. Parties may opt to proceed telephonically or by Zoom or panels may order that that the hearings will take place telephonically or by Zoom.

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VIDEO: Landlord Tenant Eviction Mediation Information Session With Attorney Ed King Expert In Landlord Tenant Issues

It was recently announced that the New York City moratorium on evictions will be expiring in August, which means many New Yorkers will be faced with the grim reality of their evictions moving forward. Watch this segment of VOICES of East New York for an important Landlord-Tenant Eviction Mediation Information Session.

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Website Development Contracts, Part 5: Mediating Disputes

When there is a dispute, whether the contract contemplates this or not, either party should consider a legal process called mediation to avoid the time and cost of fighting in court (litigation) or in arbitration.

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Georgia gov, Atlanta to continue mediation on mask order

Georgia’s governor has withdrawn a request for an emergency order to block the state’s largest city from ordering people to wear masks in public or imposing other restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic while a lawsuit on the matters is pending.

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Communities need tools for conflict resolution during troubling times

The stress and uncertainty of COVID-19 has amplified ongoing conflict and created new conflicts. People involved in distress need to know that mediation is an option for problem solving, resolution and access to justice.

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Sj: Rent Mediation Program Launched Before Eviction Moratorium Expires

San Jose tenants suffering financial setbacks due to coronavirus have been protected by city, county and state eviction moratoriums since March. But with those temporary protections set to expire at the end of August, the city rolled out a mediation program this month to help landlords and tenants resolve rental disputes on their own.

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Good Faith And The “Golden Rule” At Mediation

At mediation, It is better to be transparent from the start, lay your cards on the table and show good faith with the neutral and opposing counsel. Unwanted surprises can sometimes derail a settlement.

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7/26

'Kemp v. Bottoms' Mask Lawsuit Heads to Mediation

“We are in agreement that masks save lives,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said after a chat with Gov. Brian Kemp. “We will see if we can work out some terms that we can share publicly and not have this play out in court."

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7/23

Judge orders mediation in Georgia mask mandate dispute

The judge overseeing a dispute between Georgia’s governor and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told the two sides to attend mediation before Tuesday, when a hearing in the case is scheduled.

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How To Deal With Problematic Employees (Aside From Termination)

Talented employees can also be profoundly troubled individuals. The nature of their situation may lead to them lashing out on occasion, in violation of the company's rules on conduct. When this happens, naturally, the first thought HR departments have is to terminate the employee.

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Mediator Confidentiality Promises Carry Serious Risks

The purpose of this article is to explain some reasons why mediators might decide not to promise people that their mediations are confidential. Someday, that promise will result in a mediator being on the wrong end of a serious malpractice case. The consequences could be severe. You don't want to be that mediator.

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7/21

Issue of Applicability of 28 U.S.C. §1782 to Private International Commercial Arbitrations Is Ripe for Supreme Court’s Review After Second Circuit Decision

A four-circuit split and the recent history of the Supreme Court taking on arbitration issues suggests that the Supreme Court will decide next term if Section 1782 is applicable in aid of private international commercial arbitration proceedings.

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Arbitration: An Effective Means to an End during COVID-19

Depending on the case and contract that is subject of the dispute, arbitration may be a requirement. Of course, those parties to the contract can ultimately waive that requirement or come up with some variant of their mutual choosing. Conversely, in matters absent an arbitration provision in a contract, the parties can voluntarily agree to go to arbitration.

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Avoiding Formation Challenges To Your Arbitration Clause With Consumers

In this third installment, we look at what companies should be doing to ensure that they can present proof of their arbitration agreements if ever required to do so in court. Your company may have a perfect arbitration clause, but if a customer claims never to have signed the arbitration agreement or not to have seen the website providing notice of the terms and conditions, you will have to present evidence that the customer is wrong.

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Maricopa County Superior Court Announces Certified Arbitrator Program in Response to COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Maricopa County Superior Court recently announced its Certified Arbitrator Program. The program is the result of various studies focused on making court operations more efficient and responsive to litigants in this unique time.

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Pennsylvania’s binding arbitration law stunting police reform, officials say

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw agreed that police arbitrators wield too much power and often stunt the department’s attempts to fire bad cops.

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New Jersey Supreme Court Confirms Enforceability of Employment Arbitration Agreements With Class Action Waivers Exempted Under FAA

The decision is not only a watershed victory for businesses that employ or engage transportation workers who fall within the Section 1 exemption, but all businesses that employ or engage workers in New Jersey. The decision highlights the enormous value of an effective arbitration program and illustrates why businesses that do not already have arbitration agreements with their workers may want to carefully consider obtaining them.

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When the Talking Gets Tough: The Mediation Center looks to help the community have difficult conversations about current events

During a time where difficult topics are causing divisiveness, one local organization is providing a safe space to have healthy conversation.

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How Courts Are Encouraging Mediation In England And Wales

In England and Wales, mediation is a consensual process — the courts will not force parties to mediate against their will. The courts have nevertheless shown enthusiastic support for mediation when determining the implications of a party's refusal to mediate, and when assessing whether the normal restrictions on use of information deriving from a mediation do not apply.

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Evictions have resumed in Mecklenburg. What to know if you can’t pay rent.

Landlords, court officials and tenant advocates are hoping expanded mediation services will find out-of-court resolutions to settle unpaid rent payments to keep tenants in their homes.

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Facing potential wave of evictions, NYC launches mediation program

Warning that the city is about to “go over a cliff” of New Yorkers losing their homes, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new program to help tenants strike deals with their landlords and avoid evictions.

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7/14

Divorce Law During A Pandemic: The Rise Of Arbitration

The focus of this blog is on arbitration and its potential role in resolving disputes where the parties have engaged in efforts to settle (often involving considerable time, emotion, and......expense) and have been unable to get the agreement across the finish line.

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Determining Whether “Clickwrap Agreement” Provides “Reasonable Notice” of an Arbitration Agreement Is a Fact-Intensive Inquiry

In sum, the “inquiry whether a web user had ‘reasonable notice’ of contract terms contained in a contract accessible by hyperlink depends on the ‘totality of the circumstances.'”

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FAA doesn't preempt NY law barring mandatory arbitration of bias claims - judge

A New York state judge has ruled that sexual harassment claims by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc’s vice president of legal affairs are not “economic in nature,” so the luxury goods retailer cannot force her lawsuit into arbitration.

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No Initials, No Problem: California Court Of Appeal Holds Failure to Initial Not Enough To Prevent Arbitration

“What if neither party to an arbitration agreement places initials next to a jury waiver contained in the agreement, even though the drafter included lines for their initials?”

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Top Canadian Court Confirms that the Mandatory Arbitration Clause in Uber’s Driver Contracts is Unenforceable

Uber Technologies Inc. v. Heller, 2020 SCC 16, a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision may have significant implications for individuals working in the gig economy, as well as for employers with mandatory arbitration or forum selection clauses in their contracts for service.

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Corporations, Congress Must Examine Arbitration and Racism

Despite public statements from much of corporate America condemning racial injustice, many companies such as Starbucks, Amazon, many NFL teams, and Tesla require their workers to arbitrate claims of racial discrimination.

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Making New Connections: Virtual Mediation Is the New Frontier

Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Well, I am going to make a prediction that in-person mediations will never be the same.

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Mandatory Mediation of Riot-Related Insurance Claims

Mandatory mediation is now the law in New York modeled on the Super-Storm Sandy prototype . Will it achieve the same success as past mass disaster mandatory mediation programs?

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Sexual Harassment Claim Mediation

Statistically, the overwhelming majority of sexual harassment cases are resolved prior to trial by “alternate dispute resolution” in the form of mediation or arbitration.

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$4 Million Settlement Through Zoom Mediation During COVID-19 Pandemic

Despite the courts being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Schaumburg, Illinois-based law firm Gardi & Haught, Ltd. reached a $4 million settlement during a Zoom mediation on behalf of its client Sandra Garza, who suffered injuries during a workplace accident three years ago.

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Minds of Master Mediators

Examining the practices and psyches of six extraordinary mediators, including "Zeroing in on Zoom," what these mediators think about virtual platforms.

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EEOC expands mediation, conciliation to increase voluntary change resolutions

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has launched two six-month pilot programs to expand opportunities for employers and their workers to resolve charges through voluntary resolutions. The first of the two programs is a mediation pilot that began July 6 and "expands the categories of charges eligible for mediation and, generally, allows for mediation throughout an investigation," EEOC said. The pilot will also allow for the use of virtual mediations.

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The New Normal Mediation: A User Guide

Mediation will play an important role in resolving the many disputes that will follow the Covid-19 triggered recession.The flexibility of solutions that it offers mean that parties can find creative solutions faster, cheaper and wider than just a money judgment. But in the same way that business and society have and will have to adapt further as a consequence of the pandemic so too must mediation. The opportunity for clients is how to adapt to make best use of the mediation that will emerge in to the “new normal”.

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7/07

How forced arbitration can hurt Black and brown workers

The Economic Policy Institute finds that 65% of companies with more than 1,000 employees have mandatory arbitration procedures — meaning workers must settle employment disputes through a private mediation system, out of the public eye. The practice that garnered criticism during the #MeToo movement for concealing patterns of sexual harassment in the workplace is again under fire for making it harder for employees to hold employers accountable for racial discrimination.

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Important Books for the International Commercial Arbitration Practitioner
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, John Fellas has had a chance to spend more time than usual with his books. He focuses this column on what he believes are important works in the field of International Commercial Arbitration.

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A Guide To Drafting Enforceable Arbitration Clauses

Many businesses choose to include arbitration clauses in their agreements with their customers, vendors or employees. They do so because, as data increasingly shows, arbitration is on average a significantly faster and cheaper means of resolving a dispute in a confidential, flexible and expert manner. And, as courthouses have closed during the coronavirus pandemic, arbitration has become, in many jurisdictions, the only ongoing means of resolving disputes.

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Heller v Uber: The Supreme Court finds arbitration clause unconscionable and establishes new test for determining when to stay litigation in favour of arbitration

Heller develops arbitration and contract law in three important ways: It provides guidance on whether domestic or international arbitration legislation applies; It develops the competence-competence principle; and It restates the doctrine of unconscionability.

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Fundamentals|An Overview on International Arbitration

There are three major methods of international dispute resolution; namely international arbitration, international commercial litigation, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Among these, arbitration is the most popular way of resolving cross-border disputes between states, companies, and individuals.

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Mediation: A conflict resolution preference during COVID-19 crisis

Closure of courts and tribunals to curb the spread of the virus will invariably delay justice to companies and individuals alike. In these times, traditional reliance on litigation is a far from optimal way of dealing with conflict. Fortunately, negotiation and mediation are at last beginning to emerge as responses to conflict in its myriad forms and to the challenge of building a more peaceful world.

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