Mediation in Today's News

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December 2014
12/04

The Roger Sutton Fiasco and "Confidential" Mediation

Equal employment opportunities commissioner Jackie Blue probably spoke for many this past week when she voiced her disquiet over Roger Sutton’s decision to speak publicly about a confidential sexual harassment case that led to his decision to step down from his role as CERA chief executive.

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Aging in Iowa: Mediation program aims to assist Iowa families with difficult aging issues

Mom is growing older. Up to this point, she’s been driving by herself, but she is getting to the age when some family members are concerned about her safety. “It’s one of the big decisions that need to be made,” Iowa City-based mediator Laura Melton Tucker said. “When do (family members) put our foot down with mom and tell her we just aren’t comfortable with her driving anymore?”

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12/01

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Settles Lawsuit Over White Bear Lake Water Levels

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently settled a lawsuit through mediation with plaintiffs over White Bear Lake water levels. Here are some questions and answers regarding the settlement and the agency’s ongoing efforts to advance long-term groundwater sustainability in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area. To see a copy of the settlement agreement, go to

http://www.mndnr.gov/wblsettlement.

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Woman to run 67 miles to raise money for mediation between families and prisoners

At the center of a group embrace Friday outside Mondawmin Mall's bus depot, Lorig Charkoudian stood bundled up in three layers to help her stay warm on a 67-mile run to Hagerstown. The group — workers and volunteers from Community Mediation Maryland — said the conflict resolution program helps inmates stay out of prison for good by helping them repair relationships with their families. But first, they said, the program must make sure the families of the inmates can get to the prisons. That's where Charkoudian's run comes in. She's hoping to raise $10,000 in donations to pay for the $40 shuttle rides from Baltimore to Western Maryland, many of which leave from Mondawmin's depot. "In a way, the trip is a lot like the trip for the families," said Charkoudian, 41, an ultra-marathon runner who planned to travel 45 miles on foot Friday and another 22 miles on Saturday to the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown.

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Take a Selfie and Do Some Good for the Crown Heights Mediation Center

Social media can be used to share news, opinions and cat pictures, but often, it’s also used by young people to promote violence, according to a local group. “When a fight breaks out, people pull out their phones and just yell ‘WorldStar’ and [they’re] ready to film it and put it online,” said Heather Day of the Crown Heights Mediation Center, an area nonprofit, referring to the popular video sharing site WorldStarHipHop. To combat that, kids at the mediation center are telling their peers it’s “not worth the likes,” Day said, one of the many anti-violence messages already sent through the group’s “#UNdoviolence” campaign, a social media effort to spread the word about CHMC’s mission. The idea, Day said, is to get young people (or whoever wants to participate) to take selfies with messages of hope, peace and anti-violence for their communities in Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant.

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November 2014
11/25
Delaware Center for Justice Elects Ashley Biden, Daughter of Vice-President, as Executive Director

Ashley Biden was voted executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice (DCJ), effective Nov. 13. The announcement comes after the departure of Joanna Champney, who served DCJ for three years. Biden, the daughter of Vice President Joe Biden, served under Champney for two years as associate executive director. "Ashley has demonstrated sound and strategic leadership of the direct service programs at DCJ, and she will continue to lead DCJ with commitment and integrity," Champney said in a release.

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Do barristers and mediation mix?

Are barristers a useful tool in mediation, or does too much time have to be spent calming their egos before the mediation can get going?  This question was touched on briefly at a mediation debate I attended a few weeks ago, and it sparked a bit of a storm at the time on Twitter.  I tweeted a comment by Frances McCarthy, a hugely respected and experienced personal injury lawyer and mediator, that the problem with some mediations is actually the barristers. McCarthy said that while the parties go to a mediation with the mindset that they want to settle the case, sometimes the barrister’s attitude is that they are there for a fight; and valuable time has to be spent calming their egos before the process can really get started. She felt that some mediations would go better if the barristers weren’t actually there at all.

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Fairbanks school district, family to enter mediation in sex abuse lawsuit

Attorneys for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District hope to come to a resolution soon in a civil lawsuit with the family of a student who allegedly was raped by a tutor at Hutchison High School. Both sides in the lawsuit plan to meet for mediation in Seattle on Dec. 1 to come to a consensus on the cost of a settlement. The school district approached the family about the possibility of entering into mediation during the summer, according to Michael Kramer, the attorney representing the family. Kramer said the two sides scheduled a full-day session for the mediation, during which he said he believes both sides will participate in a good-faith effort to resolve the claim. The case will likely have to be resolved in court if the two sides cannot come to an agreement in mediation. 

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11/18

Canadian Disputants Await Clarification of Mediation Privilege’s Boundaries

Today, Canadians are mediating their disputes in record numbers. One partial explanation for this phenomenon is that mediation purports to keep discussions between parties confidential, traditionally backstopped by settlement privilege. But the extent to which parties can pierce this bubble of confidentiality and use information disclosed in the course of mediation in subsequent court proceedings is an evolving issue.

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How To Select The Best Mediator Is a Must Read for Everyone

Generally speaking, mediation is unregulated, which means that anyone may call themselves a "mediator" and any process involving a "mediator" is called "mediation." On October 22, 2014, I read a wonderful eBook by Brandon S. Peters titled "How to Select the Best Mediator." In his book, Mr. Peters makes the following statement, which I agree with completely: "Your success at mediation is directly tied to your choice of mediator.... The three most important elements of selecting the right mediator for your case: (1) Approach; (2) Style; and (3) Background.... Different cases require different approaches to mediation...."

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Family Strife Over Elder Care Consider An Elder Mediator

One or both parents requiring care can create serious stresses and conflicts within families. Sometimes disagreements and misunderstandings over elder care or inheritance issues can lead families to break apart, affecting descendants for generations. To avoid this, elder mediation is available to resolve family disputes that otherwise may go unaddressed or lead to costly and traumatic litigation. A successful resolution can preserve family ties to the benefit of the entire family tree.

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Top Missouri court overturns St. Louis County foreclosure mediation law

The Missouri Supreme Court has overturned a St. Louis County ordinance enacted during the housing crisis to help stave off foreclosures.  Adopted by the County Council in 2012, the “Mortgage Foreclosure Intervention Code” required creditors to post fees totaling $450, of which $100 was nonrefundable, to cover the cost of a “mediation coordinator.” Lenders that failed to comply with the code faced potential fines of up to $1,000. The council enacted the ordinance to keep homeowners from abandoning foreclosed properties which might then fall into disrepair. Passage of the bill came at a time when declining property values were taking a toll on county revenue from property taxes. The Missouri Bankers Association and the Jonesburg State Bank challenged the ordinance saying state law guiding real estate lending superseded the intent of the action taken by the County Council. Judge George W. Draper III, writing the majority opinion in the case, agreed with the bankers. Counties and municipalities, the justice concluded, lack the authority to enact broad legislation to address a broad “national crisis.” State law, Draper wrote “limits” the authority of local government to “participate in a mediation program prior to foreclosure … or face criminal prosecution.”

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Mediation, dispute resolution programs are community assets

Last month in San Antonio volunteers and lawyers honored the service of Marlene LaBenz-Hough, retiring executive director of the Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center (BCDRC). Under Marlene’s guidance, the center has led efforts in combating violence in San Antonio public schools by working in partnership with the San Antonio Bar Foundation (SABF). The BCDRC was awarded a Criminal Justice Department grant to develop and implement the “Amigos in Mediation” (AIM) Peer Mediation Program. Now in its 15th year, the AIM program helps schools establish their own peer mediation programs by teaching school faculty and students ways to resolve conflicts without violence.

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Amesbury Middle School teens honored as mediators

Two thirteen-year old students received a standing ovation from the assembled guests at the recent 20th Anniversary Celebration of the North Shore Community Mediation Center. Hanna Scotch and Michael Woo, two 13-year-old students at the Amesbury Middle School were recipients of the Derek Sheckman Fair Play Award for Youth Mediation. Having successfully completed the peer mediation program in their school, both young teens affirmed that the mediation training has taught them to be good communicators — and especially good listeners —which are among the mediation skills they hope to use even beyond the school day.

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11/14

State ready to expand ag mediation to cover federal land, oil and gas

Proposed changes in state rules would significantly expand the roles of South Dakota’s mediation program for agriculture borrowers and creditors. The program would be allowed to cover disputes involving federal land and oil and gas properties. The Legislature’s rules review committee will consider the proposal Wednesday. Legislators adopted changes in state law in the 2013 session on votes of 70-0 in the House of Representatives and 33-0 in the Senate. The state Department of Agriculture is bringing the rules to implement the changes 20 months later. The expansion resulted from a legislative study committee’s work on oil and gas issues in 2012.

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In Rare Feat of Legal Mediation, NJ Company's Settlement Over Faulty Implants Tops $1 Billion

Medical device manufacturer Howmedica Osteonics Corp. of Mahwah, New Jersey, has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to thousands of patients who received faulty hip implants.
Local participants say the settlement is notable not only for its high value but also for its unconventional process, which focused on speed and mediation rather than litigation.

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11/10

Quabbin Mediation veterans program becomes national model

While working late one night, Quabbin Mediation Executive Director Sharon Tracy got a call from a distraught veteran who had just come home from a tour of duty in Iraq: The mother of his child had handed their baby over to him and walked out. “So he called to find out about mediation,” she said. After Tracy described what it could provide, “he said he would think about it but never called back. I started thinking that, if I’d had a mediator who was a veteran, it might have made a difference.” Tracy decided Quabbin Mediation should provide mediation training to military veterans and their families, “so there isn’t that cultural gap” between soldiers and civilian mediators, who haven’t experienced what veterans may face after their years of service.

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Mediator says South Sudan rivals agree to end war

South Sudan's warring parties committed to stop fighting and bring their months-long conflict to an end without conditions, the chief mediator for regional African group IGAD said on Saturday after two days of talks in the Ethiopian capital. Fighting erupted last December in South Sudan, which declared independence from Sudan in 2011, after months of political tension between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy, Riek Machar. Seyoum Mesfin told reporters the IGAD bloc had agreed to freeze assets and impose travel bans, among other measures, on any party that violated the agreement. "The parties commit to an unconditional, complete and immediate end to all hostilities, and to bring the war to an end,"  

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Federal mediator: Tentative deal reached in Atlanta Symphony labor dispute

Allison Beck, acting director of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, began mediating the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra labor dispute on Oct. 7. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which restarted stalled contract negotiations between Atlanta Symphony Orchestra management and musicians a month ago, released a statement late Friday afternoon announcing a tentative accord between the two sides. “The parties have been faced with complex issues and some very tough choices, which they were dedicated to resolving,” FMCS acting director Allison Beck said. “This tentative agreement will help ensure the continuing viability of one of the premier cultural institutions of the South.”

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Indiana high court suggests mediation in IBM case

The Indiana Supreme Court has asked attorneys for the state and IBM Corp. to consider mediation to settle their dispute over IBM's failed attempt to privatize Indiana's welfare services. Chief Justice Loretta Rush said in Thursday's order that the court "encourages the parties to consider engaging in mediation to seek a mutually agreeable resolution of their dispute." Her order directs the two sides to inform the court within 30 days if they've agreed to mediation. If that mediation effort fails, the court — which heard arguments in the case on Oct. 30 — will move ahead to reach a decision in the dispute.

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Early Mediation Offered for Women's World Cup Players

Players protesting the plan to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf were denied a fast-tracked hearing in Canada over the dispute. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario instead offered early mediation between the players and the Canadian Soccer Association. But the CSA announced late Friday it would not take part in mediation. The tribunal’s ruling and subsequent rejection by the CSA came the same day a group of U.S. senators wrote soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, urging it to reconsider the decision to play on artificial turf. FIFA and the CSA are overseeing the World Cup, which will be played in six Canadian cities next June and July. The players, including Abby Wambach, claim that holding the World Cup on artificial turf amounts to gender discrimination because men play soccer’s premier tournament on real grass.

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Qatari Mediation: Between Ambition and Achievement

From 2006 to 2011, Qatar was highly active as a conflict mediator within the greater Middle East, seeking political consensus in Lebanon as well as securing a key peace agreement regarding the Darfur conflict. What were the drivers of Qatari mediation during this time, and how successful were Qatari negotiators in their efforts? How has Qatar’s foreign policy during the Arab Spring affected its ability to act as a mediator? How might Qatar expand its mediation capacity in the future?

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11/04

Singapore International Mediation Institute Launched to Set World-Class Mediation Standards

A new institute has been established to set world-class mediation standards in Singapore and the region. The Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI), which is housed at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law, was officially launched today by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education. The launch event was attended by about 100 local and international lawyers, regulators and academics.

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Getting divorced: a user’s guide

So you’re getting divorced. Quite how you feel about that prospect will, of course, depend on the circumstances. Are you divorcing your spouse or being divorced by them? No one likes to feel like a victim of circumstances we cannot control – that is one of the worst sources of stress that life can throw at us. But relationships are a delicate balance. If your partner decides it’s all over, there is in reality very little you can do. You might – might – be able to persuade them to give it another go, but the cat is out of the bag and the genie is out of the bottle. That delicate balance has taken quite a knock. You cannot unsay the word ‘divorce’.

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City of Anniston, RMC board to continue mediation through phone, email

City of Anniston officials plan to mediate with the Regional Medical Center board through phone and email to settle their recent legal disputes in lieu of meeting together like last week. Bruce Downey, city attorney, said city representatives will likely not reconvene with board representatives in a meeting to negotiate unless it's considered absolutely necessary. The decision comes after both parties spent around 12 hours with a neutral mediator in Birmingham Oct. 28 in an attempt to settle their legal disagreements outside of court. Both parties will likely continue to negotiate through the mediator, but by phone and email. "If it's necessary, we'll reconvene," Downey said. "But I think we could continue remotely ... we'd just call and email (the negotiator) and vice versa."

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Gainesville Rotary speaker lauds use of mediation to settle civil disputes

On the eve of the largest intercollegiate mediation tournament in the world, a Georgia trial and appellate court judge from Gainesville said Monday the alternate form of dispute resolution “can usually create better outcomes than trials” in resolving civil disputes. Speaking to the Gainesville Rotary Club, former Georgia Appeals Court Judge J.D. Smith said that mediation and its cousin, arbitration, are both expanding as methods of choice for resolving civil disputes in the United States and abroad because they lead to quicker results at less expense to all parties than lengthy trials in traditional courtrooms. “Mediation for me is satisfying because you get to hammer out some kind of shared solutions that both sides can live with,” Smith said. “You are getting to decisions and solutions that you are never going to achieve with a judge and a jury in a courtroom.”

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Judge Orders Mediation in Guardrail Lawsuit

Trinity Industries, a maker of highway guardrails that are suspected of having a dangerous defect, and a whistle-blower have been ordered to enter mediation after the company lost a $175 million verdict for defrauding the United States government. On Tuesday, a federal judge said Trinity and Joshua Harman, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Federal Highway Administration under the False Claims Act, must mediate their dispute by the end of the year. Last week, the company was found liable for fraud because it did not report changes to its ET-Plus guardrail system to federal authorities for years. The judge, Rodney Gilstrap, said that the mediator could invite the Justice Department and the Federal Highway Administration, which did not participate in the lawsuit, to be involved.

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October 2014
10/30

Six Tips for a Simple Divorce

Whatever the trigger for a couple taking such a step, divorce is never an easy or pleasant experience. But there are approaches which can make it more straightforward and somewhat less personally taxing, particularly if there are children involved. Mediation and collaborative law are two possible approaches. Here is a quick introduction to the areas you'll need to think about when deciding what the right approach is for you:

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Prevention is key to stopping bullying, several experts say

New research is showing that previous attempts to slow down bullying in schools are failing. New recommendations from some of the nation’s experts are changing the way many perceive the importance of prevention of bullying, rather than treating it after it begins.

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Arab Approaches for Conflict

Laura and Saeed discuss conflict resolution in the Arab world as it relates to political and ideological disputes. The conversation is based on a new book, "Arab Approaches for Conflict Resolution: Mediation, Negotiation and Settlement of Political Disputes." Guests include the book's authors, Director of Wayne State University's Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Fred Pearson and Adjunct faculty member at Wayne State and expert in Middle East conflict and inter-cultural conflict management Nahla Hamdan.

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Prepare for Mediation Success: Six Tips for Writing a Strong Brief

Writing a persuasive brief is one of the most important things an attorney can do to prepare for mediation of a business dispute. A good brief provides the opposing side with information they need to consider. Perhaps even more important though is an excellent brief that can help the mediator assist with successful resolution. Here are six tips.

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10/28

USDA Re-certifies North Dakota Mediation Service

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recertified the North Dakota Mediation Service (NDMS) through Sept. 30, 2015. “USDA’s Farm Service Agency has informed me that the mediation service meets all federal statutory and regulatory requirements and will continue to receive federal funds for the coming year,” Goehring said. “This certification means North Dakota farmers and ranchers can call on NDMS to provide them with an affordable means of resolving disputes and often avoiding costly litigation.” NDMS handled more than 60 cases this past year. The cases included credit issues, landowner disputes and conflicts arising from energy development.

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How do I negotiate with my spouse's lawyer?

There’s plenty of guidance available to lawyers and judges on how to deal with an unrepresented litigant but I haven’t seen much out there aimed at unrepresented litigants themselves on how to deal with your ex’s lawyer and the judge in your case. Personally I think there is a need for such advice because it is increasingly common to find yourself up against a lawyer representing your ex, especially with the effective abolition last year of legal aid for private family law matters.

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10/24

Teen's jail death lawsuit heads to mediation

The family of a teenager who died in police custody arrived in Jacksonville Thursday for a court-ordered mediation. Nineteen-year-old Daniel Linsinbigler asphyxiated while in custody at the Clay County Jail in March 2013 in a death that has since been ruled a homicide. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit, and Friday's mediation session will be the first time a settlement has been broached. According to police reports, the teen was picked up March 2, 2013, after barging into hotel rooms at the Stay Inn Suites in Orange Park, where he was living. He had a history of mental illness, and apparently suffered a psychotic break after smoking a once-legal convenience store drug, known as K2 or Spice. "He made a choice to use synthetic marijuana," his mom Valerie Linsinbigler told First Coast News earlier this year, "and it landed him in jail." Daniel was arrested while running around naked, proclaiming he was Jesus Christ and charged with two misdemeanors. But as his mother notes, he ended up paying the ultimate price.

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Mediation system to help cabbies resolve disputes with companies

In Singapore, taxi drivers can now turn to a more structured system to help settle disputes with their taxi companies quickly and amicably. The Taxi Industry Mediation system is a collaboration between the Land Transport Authority (LTA), taxi companies and National Taxi Association (NTA). It was launched in July, and is on trial for six months. The National Taxi Association receives about 10 cases a week on a range of issues which drivers face with their taxi companies, insurance firms or between drivers themselves. A top complaint is drivers feeling they were unfairly terminated due to service lapses.

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Why Celebrities Should Opt for Fast Mediation When Divorcing

It's just three years ago when I personally invited Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore to settle their divorce over a weekend in one of our DivorceHotels in order to avoid a never ending process. In the end they didn't take me up on my offer and as it turned out, it took 2 whole years to get the divorce finalized after they had split up. From that moment on, celebrity divorces started to fascinate me.

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Jerry Jones Assault Lawsuit Dismissed Following Mediation

A lawsuit alleging sexual assault against Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been dismissed following mediation that lasted until 3 a.m. Thursday.  In the lawsuit, former exotic dancer Jana Weckerly accused Jones of forcibly touching her genitals and kissing her on the lips without her consent more than 5 years ago. Weckery alleges that the 2009 assault took place on the night a series of racy pictures were taken. Those pictures were released last month. Jones has denied the allegations. According to a public document, the plaintiff will get nothing, as the suit was filed outside the statute of limitations. “We are pleased with the Court’s Judgment against Ms. Weckerly. Ms. Weckerly’s allegations were false. This case is over,” said Jones’ attorney, Levi McCathern. Attorney Ed Klein says that there may be undisclosed terms of the agreement.

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Mediation talks in Hong Kong to be televised

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong are brushing off an accusation that they are being influenced by foreign forces. Despite the standoff, student protest leaders are to resume talks with the government on Tuesday. For the first time in weeks the drama in Hong Kong is moving from the streets to the bargaining table. Mediation talks are set for Tuesday night and they will be televised. In the meantime protesters seem to be listening to their leaders, to sit-in, stay calm and avoid provoking police. Even the talks' mediator warned against rising expectations. The mediator was asked what the odds are of reaching an agreement? "I am not going to speculate at all about whether there will be a resolution but I hope because as part of the agreement this is not the only dialogue that will take place,” said Leonard Cheng.

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10/21

Russia-Ukraine-EU talks to conclude interim deal on Russian gas start in Brussels

Russia and Ukraine with the mediation of the European Union launched talks in the trilateral format in Brussels on conclusion of an interim agreement on Russian natural gas supplies, Olga Golant, a spokeswoman for the Russian energy minister, said on Tuesday. Russia and Ukraine met for gas talks on Tuesday to discuss the issue of Ukraine’s gas debt repayment and natural gas supplies to Europe in winter. The EU is seeking guarantees for stable gas supplies in winter. Otherwise, Ukraine may siphon off Russia’s Europe-bound natural gas. Russia also wants to ensure stable gas supplies to European consumers and recover a $5.3 billion debt from Ukraine, which acknowledges only a debt of $3.1 billion.

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McIlroy confirms break due to legal dispute

Rory McIlroy has confirmed he plans to take a break from golf to concentrate on the legal battle with his former management company.McIlroy intends to skip the BMW Masters, which begins on October 30 at Lake Malaren, and the following week's HSBC Champions event to prepare for the upcoming legal battle with Horizon. Lawyers representing the Northern Irishman and Horizon Sports Management failed to reach an agreement in mediation last week, so the long-running legal battle is now set to be concluded in court.

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10/13

Mediation talks in Rory McIlroy case to take place this week

Mediation talks between golfer Rory McIlroy and his former sports management agency over a disputed fees agreement will take place this week, the Commercial Court heard today. Mr McIlroy is suing Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management Ltd along with two other companies, Gurteen Ltd, with a registered address in Malta, and Dublin-based Canovan Management Services. He claims a representation agreement signed by him in December 2011 is not valid and unenforceable on grounds including undue influence. He says that agreement was signed when he was aged just 22, inexperienced and without the benefit of independent legal advice.

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For people filing complaints against New Orleans police, mediation now an option

A man feels disrespected by a police officer during a traffic stop. A woman believes a cop ignored her calls for help. An arrestee feels an officer was rude. These are among the types of situations that most commonly prompt residents to file a complaint at the New Orleans Police Department. Such matters are investigated, but in most cases the citizen receives a letter a few months later saying the allegations could not be proven. Meanwhile, the officer involved is skipped over for promotions. But now there is a new option available that officials hope will prove more satisfying for residents and cops. If both the officer and the person who filed the complaint agree, they can now opt for mediation, a face-to-face airing of grievances.

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Pokémon to Mediation

The civil war intensified. My two teammates fired shots at one another. I buried my face in my palms, avoiding the crossfire. The battlefield was a dorm room at the California Institute of Technology two summers ago. Our mission, as students in a high school computer science program, was coding a game using the programming language, Python. We chose Lights Out, originally programmed by Steve Jobs. Yet our mission seemed impossible given the explosive arguments of my teammates, Goku and Vegeta.

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Legal mediation: Resolving confidential matters by private agreement

Confidential and swift resolutions to private legal matters are paramount, especially when problems are solved, confidences are preserved, and long-term relationships prevail. State-certified and trained mediators provide a formal structure and process for resolving legal issues by mutual agreement without public litigation.

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Blocking the Use of Mediation Documents in Litigation

The central question is not whether the documents were produced or used in mediation. If that were the question, a party could shield from discovery each and every document it uses in connection with a mediation, which naturally would encourage document dumps in mediation. The issue is whether the challenged documents existed before the parties engaged in mediation.

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10/07

Mediator to begin work on Atlanta Symphony impasse

Allison Beck won’t be walking into an unknown situation Tuesday when she relaunches negotiations between the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and its locked-out musicians. Last summer, Beck, the acting director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, talked the New York Metropolitan Opera and its workers and musicians from a dozen unions back into the concert hall and helped save the season. But that was before a lockout took place. She will begin the difficult work of trying to rescue the ASO’s season after a monthlong lockout during which rancor and tension over pay, benefits and the size of the orchestra have swollen to an infected state.

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73 Percent Satisfied With Mediators Work - Survey

At least 73 per cent of Rwandans are satisfied with the performance of mediation committees, locally known as Abunzi, according to a survey. The survey, jointly conducted by several local and international organisations in partnership with Ministry of Justice, was made public at a roundtable dialogue in Kigali on Thursday. It evaluated the contribution of mediation committees toward enhancing access to justice and conflict resolution in Rwanda. It indicates that there is high level of satisfaction, with at least 73 per cent of respondents contented with the role of mediation committees, though in some areas there was a feeling that some mediators are corrupt.

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Schenectady students using peer mediation to solve problems

At Schenectady High School, students are being trained to be peer mediators. They help other students deal with problems without resorting to violence or bullying. It also allows them to take care of things without going directly to the administration. “They deal with a lot of stressful situations, in the community, in the school and every day we get to come together and try to make it easier on them to come to school,” said Kashiff Thompson, Program Coordinator. “I see a huge difference in people individually and now it's just like the whole school, the result is go to peer mediation,” said Keimani Griffin, a student mediator.

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Carol Williams earns state mediation award

Carol Williams, mediation services coordinator for the 4th Judicial Circuit, received a state merit award for her dedication to education at the 22nd annual Florida Dispute Resolution Center conference. She has worked in the circuit for 22 years, including the past 14 years in the circuit’s mediation department, which trains mediators. Before that she was assistant to the court administrator. The Dispute Resolution Center is part of the Florida Supreme Court. Williams supervises the staff and assistants in the circuit, as well as the volunteers, of which there are currently about 55, she said. Williams also mediates cases in family and county courts.

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Google Wallet Privacy Dispute Heads To Mediation

A legal challenge to Google's practice of disclosing information about app purchasers to developers could be settled out of court, according to recent legal documents. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal recently signed an order sending the 2-year-old lawsuit to mediation. Grewal gave Google and the users who are suing until Feb. 6, 2015 to meet with a mediator, who will try to forge a resolution. The move could bring an end to a lawsuit stemming from Google's controversial 2012 changes to its privacy policy. The revised policy allowed Google to combine data about users collected across various platforms, including YouTube and Android. In the past, Google didn't aggregate that data to create marketing profiles.

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Oregon foreclosure mediation program averts hundreds of foreclosures, but lenders question value

August was the busiest month yet for Oregon's foreclosure mediation program, with homeowners and their mortgage servicers meeting nearly 400 times during the month. It's still the case that the vast majority of foreclosures go through without a meeting between homeowner and lender, typically either because the homeowner can't be reached or because they choose not to pay a fee to start the process. But in hundreds of cases that end up in a "resolution conference," homeowners on the brink of foreclosure have reached an agreement with their lender to avoid it. And even those who don't avert a foreclosure overwhelmingly say in surveys that they approve of the program. 

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