July 28, 2019

When Does Evaluative Mediation Cross the Line from Neutral Analysis to Legal Advice?

Josh Fruchter
Two of the primary approaches to mediation are facilitative and evaluative. Under the facilitative approach, the mediator orchestrates a process that facilitates communication between the parties concerning their respective interests and concerns. The mediator typically refrains, however, from sharing an opinion concerning the strengths or weaknesses of either side’s positions...
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July 22, 2019

Can a Failed Insurance Mediation Trigger the Start of a Statute of Limitations?

Josh Fruchter
A recent Ninth Circuit decision addresses an interesting question in the context of an insurance dispute: can a failed mediation trigger the start of a statute of limitations? See Gallahan v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co., No. 18-35057, 2019 WL 2595502, at *1 (9th Cir. June 25, 2019). On February 5,..
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July 18, 2019

Using Mediation Preemptively to Resolve Workplace Disputes

Josh Fruchter
We have previously advocated that employers use mediation preemptively to quietly resolve discrimination claims and other workplace disputes before they escalate into litigation. The fact pattern described in a recent Seventh Circuit decision validates that recommendation. See Fields v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chicago, No. 17-3136, 2019 WL..
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July 11, 2019

Should Fee Shifting Provisions Condition Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees on Participation in Mediation Before a Lawsuit is Filed?

Josh Fruchter
To deter parties from taking frivolous positions in connection with contractual relationships, agreements often contain fee shifting provisions that entitle a prevailing party to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees in any litigation arising under the agreement. The downside of fee shifting provisions, of course, is that they may deter parties from..
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June 30, 2019

Texas Court Says Express Consent is Key if You Want Your Mediator to Arbitrate Disputes That Arise When Memorializing a Settlement

Josh Fruchter
We previously blogged about the process known as “med-arb” under which the parties to a failed mediation agree to retain the mediator to arbitrate their dispute. We also highlighted a particular application of med-arb under which the parties to a mediated settlement empower the mediator to arbitrate any disputes that..
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June 27, 2019

New Jersey Court Enforces Agreement to Mediate Workplace Disputes

Josh Fruchter
There are many benefits to resolving workplace disputes through mediation, including controlling legal expenses, avoiding adverse publicity, and maintaining employee morale. To realize these and other benefits of workplace mediation, many companies ask new employees to sign agreements to mediate and/or arbitrate any workplace disputes that may arise after employment..
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June 20, 2019

When Memorializing a Mediated Settlement, Empower the Mediator to Resolve Any Disputes Over Language

Josh Fruchter
To avoid any issue with the enforceability of an agreement in principle signed at the conclusion of a mediation, parties should agree in advance that if negotiations to memorialize the settlement in a more formal agreement break down, the mediator shall resolve any remaining disputes over language or otherwise. This..
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June 17, 2019

Oral Class Action Settlement Reached Through Mediation Unenforceable Because Parties Did Not Agree on Attorneys’ Fees and Other Material Terms

Josh Fruchter
A recurring issue in post-mediation litigation is whether a barebones term sheet or other agreement in principle reached at the conclusion of mediation remains binding and enforceable even if subsequent negotiations to document the settlement in a more detailed formal agreement break down. We discussed this issue in an earlier..
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June 14, 2019

How Mediators Can Help Family Business Attorneys Avoid Professional Risk by Playing the Role of Neutral Peacemaker

Josh Fruchter
As a practice area, representing family businesses offers clear benefits. If sizeable, such enterprises can generate a steady stream of transactional and litigation work. Collaborating closely with the company’s and family’s other advisors such as accountants, insurance brokers and investment professionals can lead to referrals. There is also the opportunity..
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June 14, 2019

The Mediator’s Proposal: If Both Sides Say Yes, Make Sure It’s Binding

Josh Fruchter
An important technique in any mediator’s toolkit is the mediator’s proposal. Typically used as a measure of last resort to avoid litigation after all other options for compromise have been exhausted, a mediator’s proposal recommends a dollar number (and perhaps other terms) to settle the dispute, and fixes a deadline..
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