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July 2, 2007

More on Ellison/Fantagraphics Mediation

By David Welsh

While both parties in the recently resolved Ellison v. Fantagraphics lawsuit are unable to release details of the court-mediated agreement reached Thursday, June 28, Fantagraphics co-publisher did elaborate on the mediation process via e-mail.

"We both signed what's called a short-form agreement yesterday [June 28]. The long form agreement will be completed and approved by both our lawyers in a couple weeks and once we sign it, we will release it to the public, but are prohibited by the terms of the agreement from commenting on the lawsuit beyond that."

According to Groth, the mediation process was instigated -- though not mandated -- by the courts.

"Evidently, at this stage in litigation, the court always calls up both parties and asks, separately, if they're interested in court-sponsored mediation. We said we were interested and Ellison evidently said he was, so it happened. It was therefore merely the opportunity offered by the court that led us into it. The court told me that 80% of such mediations are successful, and US courts would prefer this to a litigation that sucks up two or more years of the court's time."

This piece from The Third Branch: Newsletter of the Federal Courts offers more information on mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and their usefulness in the U.S. court system:

"The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California was one of the pioneers in the use of ADR. The district has developed a sophisticated, multiple-option system offering a variety of ADR options, including mediation, ENE [early neutral evaluation], nonbinding arbitration, and settlement conferences. 'We're committed to working with our district's lawyers and parties to find the best ADR option,' said Howard A. Herman, the district's Director of ADR programs, 'but we've found that mediation is the most popular. We believe it's because it's the most flexible of all the options.'"


This article was provided to CR without editorial intrusion by David Welsh.
posted 11:14 am PST | Permalink

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