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All parties agree to mediation concerning ancient burial ground

There are many different situations in which mediation may be employed to resolve a dispute in the state of Pennsylvania. One of those situations is where construction projects are concerned.

Numerous issues could arise in the course of a construction project. Sometimes there are issues with contracts. Other times zoning matters arise. A completely different issue has prompted mediation in another state related to construction. The dispute to be mediated involves an ancient Indian burial ground that was discovered as a road was being constructed.

The Indian tribe that claims its ancestors are buried there sued the city alleging that the burial ground was desecrated by the individuals who dug up the site to make room for the road in 2011. More specifically the tribe alleges that officials for the city breached their legal duty and violated laws. The tribe sought a total of $9 million in damages. In a follow-up claim, three businesses involved in performing the construction work were named as defendants.

Following the discovery of the burial ground, the construction project was stalled. Over the course of a couple of years, members of the tribe and archeologists sifted through dirt to recover artifacts and human remains. The tribe plans to eventually rebury the things it recovered.

Rather than proceed to trial, the parties involved in the legal action agreed to try to resolve the matter via mediation. Choosing this route of resolution could be beneficial for all involved for multiple reasons. In addition to usually being a cheaper method, it often leads to a swifter resolution as well. The results of the session, which was held late, last month, are currently unknown.


Source: Whidbey News-Times, “Swinomish suit goes to mediation,” Jessie Stensland, Jan. 16, 2014

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