Tuesday, September 15, 2009
LACBA Calls Withdrawal of Mediator Compensation Plan a Victory
By a MetNews Staff Writer
SAN DIEGO—A resolution that would have asked the Legislature to require parties who choose to enter mediation in general civil cases to bear the costs and set compensation for mediators was withdrawn at Sunday’s session of the Conference of California Bar Associations.
Los Angeles County Bar Association Delegation Chair James W. Gilliam Jr. of Paul Hastings, Janofsky & Walker said the delegation had engaged in extensive lobbying against the measure and that he had personally emailed every delegation chair in the state regarding LACBA’s opposition.
Resolution 13-04-09 was withdrawn by the Beverly Hills Bar Association. It had put forth a similar resolution last year which was defeated by a majority vote against the recommendation of the conference’s Resolutions Committee.
Gilliam credited the early lobbying efforts with securing the proposal’s withdrawal on Sunday, as the Resolutions Committee recommended approval and a majority of the delegations took a preliminary position in support of the measure.
California law promotes the use of mediation to resolve general civil disputes, and grants the Los Angeles Superior Court—and any other counties that so elect—authority to order mediation in matters where the amount in controversy will not exceed $50,000.
The resolution proposed making compliance with the mediation statute elective for Los Angeles, as it is for every other county, and eliminating reference to the Los Angeles’ participation in court-ordered mediation as a “pilot project.”
As with last year’s proposed resolution, the measure also included language requiring the parties who voluntarily stipulate to mediation to bear the costs of that proceeding.
The measure would have allowed persons of limited means to file a declaration requesting pro bono mediation and permitted mediators to voluntarily serve pro bono basis for over one case per year, or longer than eight hours, as well.
On Saturday, delegates voted against a resolution that would have called for an amendment to Civil Code Sec. 1717 to enact a statutory procedure for determining attorney fee awards and changing the standard of review from abuse of discretion to do novo.
The San Diego County Bar Association was the proponent of Resolution 08-05-09, which was subjected to the full debate process and rejected by a vote of 75-72.
Resolution 06-08-09, proposing amendments to Penal Code Sec. 186.22 to require prosecutors to bifurcate evidence of gang membership from evidence of a defendant’s underlying crime was also approved Saturday over opposition by the San Diego County Bar Association.
Proposals calling for the addition of Rule 2.910 to the California Rules of Court to provide a mechanism for alerting the presiding judge of matters pending under submission for more than 90 days, as well as an amendment to Government Code Sec. 11512 to provide for review of administrative law judge disqualifications without the need for appeal, were also approved without debate.
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