In his blog Mediator Blah…Blah, mediator (and barrister) Geoff Sharp posted an entry last month about an incident that occurred at a holiday party thrown by one of his clients. Among the blog responses he received was a suggestion that he ought not to have been attending a holiday party offered by a former client … Continue reading The Ethics of Mediators Who Party
Practical Ethics for Mediators in 2008? No, this is neither a prediction nor a demand. Rather, it is a new year’s wish on my part. A book with a title something roughly like that is slated to appear this coming year, I believe. And I look forward to it greatly. Conceived and edited by Professor … Continue reading Practical Ethics for Mediators in 2008?
The agency literature is filled with discussions of how best to structure compensation systems to promote the right incentives for people we hire to do things on our behalf. Embedded in most of it is an assumption that we can tell when someone is doing a good job. That’s not a bold assumption when I … Continue reading Evaluating Agents, Attorneys, Arbitrators, Mediators (and Students)
Do practicing mediators actually turn to conventional articulations of mediation ethical standards for guidance? So much ink has been spilled describing mediator standards, and so many hours have been devoted to parsing their every word, that some might hope the answer is “Yes, of course!” But I doubt busy mediators ever consult them. I personally … Continue reading Mediator Ethics … and What Actually Guides Us
Last week, I wondered aloud (or whatever the blog equivalent of “aloud” may be) why I had so few experiences in which mediation parties said “thank you” to each other upon arriving at a settlement. Geoff Sharp indicated that his experience in New Zealand was different—that he routinely sees parties thanking each other early and often … Continue reading Ongoing Relationships and the Perils of Gratitude
At the conclusion of a mediation I did some years ago, one of the parties did something weird. Really weird. They said “thank you” to the other side. Had these parties mid-read the standard mediation script? The other party was clearly taken aback, and I remember feeling almost awkward. “Thank you”?! They were “supposed” to … Continue reading Thanks-Giving in Mediation
Most of the conflicts about which I know anything, I learned about through reporters. And today, I wonder what I should think about that. At a conference I attended yesterday, on “Interest-Based Reporting,” faculty from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication and the University of Missouri’s Center for Conflict, Law, and the … Continue reading Interest-Based Reporting
We will soon read about a Department of Justice initiative to decrease online public access to criminal plea agreements. I know this because the ABA Section of Litigation sent me an email yesterday, announcing the contents of the January 2008 issue of Litigation News, one part of which will be devoted to the topic of … Continue reading Access to Plea Agreements
“Evident partiality” is one of the very few grounds upon which a court may vacate an arbitral award under Section 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act. The typical target of Section 10(a)(2) is an arbitrator who knows of a conflict of interest, fails to disclose it, and therefore fails to secure a waiver from the … Continue reading Arbitrators, Evident Partiality, and Contrived Ignorance
A recent case from the Ohio Supreme Court illustrates a division in the way different jurisdictions treat workers’ compensation claims where the employer and employee signed an arbitration agreement. In Peters v. Columbus Steel Castings Co., 115 Ohio St.3d 134 (2007) http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/newpdf/default.asp, the employee agreed to arbitrate all claims he might have against his employer. … Continue reading Wrongful Death and Arbitration
Too often, mediated settlement agreements produce post-mediation litigation in which one party alleges that the mediated agreement was the product of fraud. By encouraging parties to employ standard contracting devices, mediators can help parties to avoid some of most challenging aspects of these fights—and hopefully avoid the fights altogether. Last week, Professor Ellen Deason posted … Continue reading In Praise of (Written) Representations in Mediated Settlements
Under the “American Rule,” each party bears the burden of whatever expenses it incurs during the course of litigation, regardless of the outcome of the case. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54 presents one exception to this broad assertion. Under its terms (and equivalent state provisions), “costs other than attorneys’ fees shall be allowed as … Continue reading Mediation Fees as Recoverable Costs?