You might have read my previous post noting the threatened closure of Los Angeles County Superior Court’s ADR programs. It’s now official. As of March 11, the court stopped accepting referrals to its pro bono mediation program, as well as for any arbitrations, mediations, neutral evaluations, and voluntary settlement conferences from civil, family, and probate courtrooms. In April, mediation will cease for any Civil Harassment, Small Claims, and Unlawful Detainer calendars. All ADR offices will be closed by May 1st.
Archive for the ‘Program Management’ Category
Neutrals across the country must have experienced a mutual shudder as we read about a party leaving a Phoenix mediation, lying in wait for the other party and his lawyer to leave, and then shooting them, along with a bystander.
My initial response was from that core, human place. I mourn the loss of life and the injuries. I imagine the fear of those in the immediate area. I wonder if I know, or anyone I know knows, the mediator or any of the participants. My heart goes out to the mediator, Ira Schwartz.
Then I think about how this will play out amid the current debate about the role of guns in our society.
But then I imagine the critical questions this raises for those of us in the ADR field.
- As neutrals, what are our responsibilities?
- For those of us involved with court ADR programs, what are our special responsibilities? (more…)
For the second time in as many years, a foreclosure mediation program has faced a constitutional challenge. This time, the 153,000-person city of Springfield, Massachusetts, will be allowed to move forward with a foreclosure mediation program for residents.
The first was a constitutional challenge from Wells Fargo against the Nevada Supreme Court Foreclosure Mediation Program. Wells Fargo claims the mediation program itself violates the due process clause. More specifically, Wells Fargo claims a provision that allows sanctions for non-compliance, violated the U.S. constitution. Nevada’s mediation program allows judges to issue sanctions if the lender does not participate in good faith. Sanctions may include an ordered write-down of the mortgage. Wells Fargo says this violates the contracts clause and the takings clause by interfering with a contract provision and appropriating private real and personal property for public use without compensation. The court (more…)
RSI was recently asked to participate in an American Bar Association meeting about support for the courts during the recent economic downturn. In the past few years, court systems around the country have had their budgets cut, to the point where some are closing courthouses altogether. RSI Executive Director Susan Yates commented on the effect these cuts have had on support for court ADR programs. To prepare for the meeting, we did some research and reached out to ADR administrators to find out what’s happening in their programs. This handout discusses what we found.
Is your ADR program facing similar funding challenges? If so, what impact has it had on your services?
This month, Resolution Systems Institute was invited to consult on residential mortgage foreclosure mediation at the Uniform Law Commission’s (ULC) Mortgage Foreclosure Committee meeting. The ULC is a non-governmental organization that drafts laws which states may voluntarily adopt in whole or use in part to create their own laws. The Committee is considering drafting a uniform law on foreclosures and is interested in including a provision on foreclosure mediation. RSI provided its Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation and Mitigation Models report, along with other materials, to the Committee prior to the meeting. I, as staff attorney at RSI, along with four program managers from foreclosure ADR programs around the country, addressed the Committee and forty interested observers from lending, borrowing, academic, and governmental sectors. The following are my opening remarks:
Greetings, members of the Committee and observers. Thank you for the opportunity to present you with our research and experience in foreclosure alternative dispute resolution programs. We represent a few of the 23 states, (more…)