May 9, 2013
RSI to Receive Foreclosure Mediation Grant - RSI is pleased to report that Resolution Systems Institute, in partnership with Northern Illinois University College of Law, has been notified that we will receive a three-year grant from the Illinois Attorney General to support foreclosure mediation incubation in the state. RSI is working with three judicial circuits in northern Illinois to help design, implement and conduct their programs, plus we will provide mediator training and collaborate on program evaluation throughout the state. See the Attorney General's press release for more information about the scope of the work and about our program partners.
May 8, 2013
Domestic Violence Survivors May Choose Family Mediation in Montana - Montana will allow domestic violence survivors to pursue mediation through family court. Previously, family courts were barred by law from sending parties into mediation if the court suspected they had suffered physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by the opposing party. A coalition of groups led by the Mediation Clinic of the University of Montana School of Law proposed HB 555 to allow survivors to give their informed consent to the mediation process if they choose it.
See RSI's Just Court ADR blog for more discussion.
May 8, 2013
Minnesota Limits Evidence from Collaborative Law Process - Minnesota has amended its statute on witness testimony, 595.02.1(m), to give the collaborative law process the same evidentiary privilege as mediation. HB 283 may be the first time confidentiality in collaborative law has received such privilege. Under the amended statute, witnesses may not be questioned in court about conversations or documents associated with the collaborative law process. This privilege has one exception: it will not apply when the parties are in court specifically to contest or adjust their stipulated agreement.
May 6, 2013
Tennessee Workers' Compensation ADR Moves from Court to Executive Branch - A new Tennessee law, SB 200, moves control of the states workers' compensation dispute resolution system, including a mandatory mediation process, from the court system to the administrative branch. Previously, the Tennessee Department of Labor oversaw a mandatory mediation process, after which parties in impasse went to the court system, which adjudicated disability and medical expenses. Now, SB 200 has moved the entire process from the court system to the newly-created Court of Worker's Compensation Claims. Mediation will still be managed by the Department of Labor, but parties at impasse will proceed to adjudication by administrative law judges.
April 29, 2013
RSI Hiring Director of Foreclosure Mediation - RSI is currently seeking a Director of Foreclosure Mediation to assist Illinois courts in creating, maintaining and expanding innovative and sustainable foreclosure ADR programs. If you have experience in foreclosure and/or mediation and are committed to expanding the use of ADR in the courts, this might be the job for you. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
April 1, 2013
Southern District of Florida Bankruptcy Court Launches New Foreclosure Mediation Program - The Southern District of Florida Bankruptcy Court has started a Loss Mitigation Mediation program. Beginning on April 1, real property debtors in all chapters of bankruptcy can participate. The program will feature a court-approved secure online portal, document preparation software, and online training to help debtors prepare loan packages and exchange documents with lenders. Mediators will use the online portal to facilitate document exchange. The next phase is a mandatory one-hour Loss Mitigation Mediation conference, which may be followed by a second hour of mediation. Debtors and lenders must each pay the mediator a $300 fee, although debtors with incomes under 150% of the poverty level may request that the fee be waived.
April 1, 2013
Los Angeles Superior Court Closing ADR Department - Due to state-imposed budget cuts, the Los Angeles Superior Court is closing its ADR department, creating a stir across the entire court ADR community. The cuts began on March 11, when the program stopped accepting referrals for many ADR services. The ADR Department offices around Los Angeles will be closed by May 31. For further discussion, see Jennifer Shack's posts here and here on RSI's Just Court ADR Blog.