In our last post, we began looking at some of the differences between mediation and arbitration, two important forms of alternative dispute resolution. As we pointed out last time, arbitration is similar to a court trial, while mediation doesn’t typically seek to imitate the litigation process. Though the form medication takes depends on the style used, the aim of mediation is not to hand down decisions as a judge would.
Alternative dispute resolution is a general term referring to methods of resolving legal disputes outside the adversarial process. Two important forms of alternative dispute resolution are arbitration and mediation. In this and our next post, we’ll take a brief look at the differences between these two approaches to resolving disputes.
Texas mass media company iHeartMedia is currently involved in a dispute that it is attempting to solve through mediation. Lenders are saying the company is in default on billions of dollars of debt after transferring an alleged $1.241 billion in shares from a company subsidiary to an unrestricted subsidiary.
Verizon workers in Pennsylvania were among a group of nearly 40,000 workers nationwide who went on strike last week amid failed negotiations to renew a new contract. The strike may be among the largest of its kind, and yet Verizon reportedly prepared well to handle it. Sources say the company trained managers and contractors to take over the work left undone by striking employees, giving it the ability to hold to a harder line in negotiations.
Arbitration, as we mentioned last time, can be an effective way for parties to resolve a dispute, but it is critical that the arbitrator handling the dispute is knowledgeable about the process and is experienced in handling disputes via arbitration. Because arbitration is a contractual agreement, parties are bound in the selection of an arbitrator based on the terms of the agreement.
Arbitration agreements are a common feature in many business contracts. One area where arbitration agreements have become common is with agreements used by nursing homes when admitting residents. These agreements typically require an individual seeking admission for nursing home care to waive his or her right to sue the facility in court if any harm comes to the resident as a result of negligent care.
In a previous post, we began discussing a state government scandal in which Attorney General Kathleen Kane has become embroiled. As we noted, Kane recently criticized the appointment of a well-connected Philadelphia attorney to serve as mediator in a case involving Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin and the Court of Judicial Discipline.
A state government scandal going by the moniker “porngate” is currently the subject of a lot of talk here in Pennsylvania. The fact that the scandal combines allegations of sexual misconduct with government corruption goes a long way in explaining the hubbub. At the center of the scandal are allegations that prosecutors, judges and other state officials exchanged pornographic images on government computers.
Not all lawyers are created equal, which is to say that attorneys have different areas of specialty, different degrees of experience, different competencies, and different personalities. Selecting the right attorney requires really doing one’s homework to ensure a good fit.
Last time, we began looking at the enforceability of mediation agreements. As we pointed out, the law on this matter varies from state to state and between federal jurisdictions, but courts generally apply the rules of contract law. Under contract law, there are various grounds on which contracts can be defeated or limited, and we mentioned some of these last time: duress, coercion, lack of agreement, fraud, misrepresentation, and mistake.