Civil Mediation Articles

Avoiding the Uncertainty of a Medical Malpractice Trial (6/19/15)
Richard Bone
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provides viable and attractive alternatives to jury trials as a means of resolving medical legal disputes arising out of allegations of professional negligence. The two primary alternatives to a jury trial for medical malpractice cases are mediation and binding arbitration.

Planning is Critically Important for Early Dispute Resolution
John Lande
Early mediation is a waste of time. This was a refrain I heard several months ago at a meeting of lawyers representing large corporations.

Compliance Success with Mediated Settlements in Small Claims (6/11/15)
Mattie Robertson
A report on the success of mediated settlement agreements by SEEDS Community Resolution Center's mediation team in Small Claims Court in Alameda County. High compliance with settlements has provided litigant parties with a reliable and effective way to resolve their cases using interest-based negotiation within a community mediation model.

Mediating Early and Late (6/06/15)
Bill Marsh
It's not always easy to spot trends. But one that I have noticed over the last year or two is an increase in the number of cases I am being asked to mediate in which litigation or arbitration proceedings have not yet been issued.

Beyond "Divorce American Style": The Search for a More Responsive Process (6/05/15)
Larry Gaughan
Marriage is a high risk undertaking. Consider the statistics. In recent years the number of marriages each year is just over twice the number of divorces in the same year. So when two adults in their late 20's - let's call them Justin and Lisa - decide to get married and have an expensive wedding with all the trimmings, there is a good chance that they will also get divorced. And when they do, it wouldn't be unusual for their divorce to cost as much as (or more than) their wedding and honeymoon.

Settle Your Personal Injury Claim Before A Lawsuit Is Filed (6/01/15)
Don Cripe
As a retired lawyer who handled many personal injury cases (both as a defense lawyer and for plaintiffs), an Arbitrator and Mediator who has handled many, many more, some things become ever more obvious as the years pass. Resolving most personal injury cases before a lawsuit is filed (or at least before the defense files an answer) accomplishes most of the objectives of the parties more quickly and efficiently than after.

Diffusing Disputes: The Public in the Private of Arbitration, the Private in Courts, and the Erasure of Rights (5/15/15)
Katherine Graham
Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law at Yale Law School, has published "Diffusing Disputes: The Public in the Private of Arbitration, the Private in Courts, and the Erasure of Rights," 124 Yale Law Journal 2015. In her article, Professor Resnik provides a different perspective regarding the effect recent Supreme Court precedent pertaining to class waivers has had on arbitration in the United States.

Bringing Court ADR Programs into the Courtroom (5/08/15)
Kimberly Ackmann
As the RSI foreclosure mediation team continues to incubate foreclosure mediation in Illinois, we have explored a variety of ways to reach out and connect with homeowners who could benefit from our programs' services. One approach has been to establish our programs' presence at the courthouses where homeowners are attempting to navigate the foreclosure process. Going to court can be an overwhelming or intimidating prospect for homeowners facing foreclosure.

ADR is on the Rise in Employment Cases (4/24/15)
Jeffrey Grubman
While there is a long history of utilizing arbitration in the labor union context, the majority of employment disputes have historically been litigated in federal court.

A Top Ten List of Keys to Success in Court-Ordered Mediation (4/24/15)
Paul Monicatti
In an era of the vanishing trial, mediation advocacy is gradually replacing trial advocacy as the key litigator's skill. From a mediator with nearly 30 years mediation experience, here is a concise best practice list for the mediation advocate.

Federal Employment Case Update: Pizza and Beer (4/17/15)
Richard Birke
When Jacqueline Conners brought a class action lawsuit against her employer Gusano's (alleging unlawful tip pooling practices), Gusano's instituted an arbitration policy that required individual arbitration of any disputes.

The 2015-16 Global Pound Conference Series - Prospectus (4/15/15)
Jeremy Lack, Michael Mcilwrath
"Shaping the Future of Dispute Resolution & Improving Access to Appropriate Justice." The goal of the Global Pound Conference ("GPC") Series is to improve access to justice around the world by generating actionable data from stakeholders in the dispute prevention and resolution fields to facilitate greater access to appropriate dispute resolution ("ADR") processes worldwide. Please join our efforts!

Litigation as Violence (4/10/15)
John Lande
Litigation is an important part of the dispute resolution system and it is quite legitimate for people to use it in appropriate cases. Litigation (including negotiation and mediation conducted during litigation) often functions appropriately without causing undue violence or other harm. People usually don't pay as much attention when things work properly and this may be the case with litigation most of the time. But too often, unnecessary injury is a by-product.

Courts are Limited When it Comes to Problem Solving (4/10/15)
Michael A. Zeytoonian
Recently I represented a party in a dispute over some business equipment. This case would have been better resolved by the parties either directly communicating with each other or communicating and negotiating with each other through their lawyers. But before that could be done, one party opted to file a complaint in federal court and as a result, we were engaged in court proceedings.

Federal Court Case Update, Filings and Firings (4/03/15)
Richard Birke
Following is the start of a new series on the JAMS ADR Blog, featuring short synopses of recent case rulings related to arbitration or ADR. We're excited to share this information as we know this is an area that will be of interest to our readers and those in the legal industry.

Joint Sessions: Are Lawyers Right to Hate Them? (3/31/15)
Martin Quinn
Mention holding a joint session and you are sure to provoke an argument between mediators and teachers of mediation on one side and lawyers who represent clients in mediations on the other. That dichotomy is not wholly accurate because many mediators have also abandoned the use of joint sessions.

The Future of Mediation (3/26/15)
Chris Poole
It is impossible to talk about the future, present or past of mediation without putting some sort of definition to that term. Clearly, mediation as dispute resolution has been around as long as disputes. When defined as a process that involves a designated third-party to assist in the resolution of disputes, mediation can be considered an old process.

The Future of Family Dispute Resolution: Mediation as a Piece of the Puzzle (3/20/15)
Peter Salem
Had I written about the future of family dispute resolution in the late 1980s, when I was a young and enthusiastic child custody mediator working for a Wisconsin family court agency, I would probably have focused exclusively on mediation rather than considering the current broad spectrum of family dispute resolution (FDR) processes that I did not anticipate at the time.

Minnesota Considers Moving Divorce out of Court (3/13/15)
Dan Simon
"In our culture, court means contest - it means a fight. . . we've culturally viewed divorce as a battle" says Bill Doherty. Doherty says that, no matter how well-intentioned the lawyers, the assumption that judicial supervision is needed greatly increases the risk of destructive conflict arising. Doherty believes that, very often, couples who get divorced without the help of lawyers do better than they would with lawyers. Doherty's plan takes divorce entirely outside the courts.

There's Always Time for a Second Opinion (3/13/15)
Chris Poole
The litigation process is full of variables and, no matter how strong a party's case might be, going to trial is rarely a sure thing. There is also a tendency for counsel and clients to be overconfident in their assessments of their position. Thanks to the evolution of ADR, however, parties have many options available to them to secure an unbiased, neutral evaluation or second opinion about the strengths and weaknesses of a particular case and trial strategy.

SEC Approves FINRA Proposal to Further Revise Definition of Public and Non-Public Arbitrator (3/06/15)
Jill Gross
The SEC approved FINRA's proposal to " refine and reorganize the definitions of 'non-public' arbitrator and 'public' arbitrator." Customers who file an arbitration claim against a broker dealer or associated person now has the right to an all-public arbitration panel, so the definitions of who fits the two classifications are high stakes.

First Things First: Design the Arbitration Process You Want (3/06/15)
Richard Chernick
The principles for drafting a pre-dispute arbitration clause are straightforward. They do require an understanding of the legal relationship, which will be the subject of the clause, some sense of the nature of disputes that are likely to arise and a basic understanding of arbitration process.

Don't Rush (2/26/15)
Christian Radu Chereji, Constantin-Adi Gavrila
There is a lot of talk nowadays about the apparent failure of mediation to live up to its potential. Reports published on paper and online, presented before institutions or at various conferences, point to the relatively low number of mediation cases compared to the number of lawsuits filling the logs of the courts and then draw the inevitable conclusion that mediation has missed the opportunity of (be)coming mainstream.

The Mediation Future (2/20/15)
Tracy Allen
So long as market users , i.e. the true decision makers, remain dependent on their legal counsel to select, direct and control the mediation/negotiation process, there is likely to be little advancement in public education about the importance and availability of mediation.

Court ADR Trends for 2015 (2/17/15)
Mary Novak
Last year perhaps the most visible trend in court ADR was the courts' use of mediation to address truly large-scale crises. From the mediators who helped opposing groups reach the Grand Bargain that led Detroit out of bankruptcy, to the mediations being used to address thousands of insurance claims that remain from Hurricane Sandy, courts essentially created ad-hoc ADR programs to respond to major crises.

Accessing Justice (2/06/15)
Joe Markowitz
A recent artical in the ABA Journal on movements to license legal technicians to perform limited legal services cited a Bar Foundation study showing that most people encountering what the study called "civil justice situations" either handled the situation themselves, did nothing about it, or enlisted the help of friends and family.

South Africa to Launch Court - Annexed Mediation in Mahikeng (2/03/15)
Managing Editor
South Africa has officially launched the Court-Annexed Mediation in Montshioa Stadt Village, Mahikeng. The alternative dispute resolution mechanism will allow for a negotiated settlements and alleviate huge litigation costs.

Fifth Circuit Reverses Course in Construction Defect Case (1/23/15)
Beth Graham
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed its prior decision affirming summary judgment in favor of an insurance company that refused to pay an arbitral award in a construction defect case. In Crownover v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 11-10166, a Texas couple, the Crownovers, initiated arbitration against the company that built their defective home, Arrow. After an arbitrator ruled in favor of the homeowners, the builder filed for bankruptcy protection. The couple next sought to recover damages from Arrow's insurance company.

Neutral Analysis and Second Opinions (1/23/15)
Kim Taylor
Corporate counsel-under seemingly never-ending pressure to contain costs-have a wide array of dispute resolution tools available to them, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation. There are other devices, however, that merit consideration at any stage of a dispute. Announces Mediation Futures Project (1/20/15)
Jim Melamed, Robert Benjamin, Clare Fowler
In Celebration of our 20th Year, has announced The Mediation Futures Project. Ultimately, our goal is to develop a set of blueprints for the mediation field most effectively moving into the future. Submit your article or comment today!

U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Review Case Where Mediator Conflict Existed (1/16/15)
Beth Graham
The United States Supreme Court has reportedly been asked to review a federal court's order refusing to set aside a jury's verdict where a court-appointed mediator failed to disclose his close personal relationship with a partner at the law firm representing several of the defendants. In CEATS Inc. v. Continental Airlines, Inc., et al., No. 14-681, CEATS filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas against Continental Airlines, Ticketmaster, and a number of other corporations over the companies' alleged use of CEATS's technology in certain seat selection software.

Fees of the Successfully Challenged Arbitrator? (1/16/15)
Alfred Siwy
In its decision of 17.2.2014, the Austrian Supreme Court decided on a claimant's request for reimbursement of the portion of the fees advanced to the arbitrator whom it had successfully challenged during ongoing proceedings and on his liability for frustrated costs caused by the challenge and the appointment of a new arbitrator.

California's Legislature - Hard At Work Once Again-2014 (1/09/15)
Phyllis Pollack
Each year, I find it interesting to look through the new laws enacted by the California legislature to see if my tax dollars were well spent. Once again, the legislature was "hard at work."

The Mediator as Process Designer (1/09/15)
Richard Chernick
A mediator is a facilitator who has the skill to work around or overcome obstacles to settlement created by parties or their counsel. In particular, when negotiations have gotten the parties close to a settlement, the skilled mediator is able to keep negotiations moving even when the parties are prepared to give up.

The Future of Mediation in Different Sectors (1/05/15)
Elinor Robin, Susan Dubow
Mediation has come a long way in the last 4 decades since it was endorsed, but this article examines all of the areas in which mediation still needs to grow.

Plea Bargaining (1/02/15)
Joe Markowitz
In an exchange of letters published in the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books, commenting on an article last month about reforming the plea bargaining process by Federal District Judge Jed Rakoff in New York, Judge Rakoff defends his proposal to get judges more involved in plea bargaining by comparing it to the way mediation is offered to civil litigants in the same court.

The Witness Statement as Disclosure (12/26/14)
Nicolas Ulmer
As arbitrator I often glance through the witness statements early-on in order to get a more direct "feel" for the case, its players and its history, as well as for planning purposes.

Mediation Going Forward: What Do We Know? What Can We Expect? (12/17/14)
Donald T. Saposnek
The current complexity of our problems, at least in the U.S., is close to the point of overwhelm; for the individuals involved, for the governments that rule them, for the courts that adjudicate them, for the economic systems that support them, and because of the corrupted values that guide them.

Trials, Part One (12/01/14)
Joe Markowitz
Mediation is often touted as a better alternative to taking a lawsuit to trial. It usually is; but I believe that is still the wrong comparison to make in most cases.

What is a "Tiered Dispute Resolution Clause" and What Options Does it have to Offer? (11/21/14)
Michael A. Zeytoonian
Tiered dispute resolution clauses in contracts -- this is the first step in providing clients with alternatives to court and litigation. It gives parties value in three ways: (1) It gives them the opportunity to work together on how they will resolve a dispute; (2) it allows lawyers to educate their clients on what their options are, how they work and what their pros and cons are while the parties are calm and agreeable; and (3) it gives the parties more control over the process as well as the outcome.

$1B Settlement Reached in Stryker Hip Implant Mass Tort (11/14/14)
Chris Poole
Thousands of plaintiffs in New Jersey and around the country who had surgery to remove failed hip implants settled their claims November 3 in a deal that is expected to pay out more than $1 billion. It was reached after four months of negotiations with Stryker mediated by retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Diane Welsh, a JAMS mediator based in Philadelphia.

The Growth of Arbitrator Power to Control Counsel Conduct (11/14/14)
Margaret Moses
There have been increasing calls over the past few years for an international code of conduct for counsel in international commercial arbitration, and for arbitrators to have more power to control counsel conduct. The growing concern is related to significant changes that have taken place in international arbitration practice.

Legal Mediation News Update - November 2014 (11/12/14)
Keith Seat
This is another in a series of updates on Legal Mediation News from News Editor, Keith Seat.

Metrics (11/11/14)
Joe Markowitz
I was interviewed the other day for a possible article on court-ordered mediation. In discussing this topic, it's hard to avoid talking about such questions as settlement rates in various kinds of programs, or how mediation programs affect the workload of the courts

The Urgent Need For Data: Are the Needs of Users and the Dispute Resolution Market Misaligned? (11/07/14)
Deborah Masucci, Michael Leathes
Seismic tremors emanating from London's Guildhall on October 29th 2014 are set to send change-inducing shockwaves, around the international dispute resolution community. It is widely known that dispute resolution's customers, the disputants, have different needs and interests from the supply side of the market such as external counsel, ADR providers, and educators. The shock comes from the initial data generated at this Convention, suggesting just how far out of alignment the supply side may be with the views and needs of the users. Additional data is needed on an international scale.

Click here for MORE ARTICLES