Gordon & Rees New York partner William Ruskin authored an article "REBUTTAL: Establishing Standards and Norms in Mediation" that was featured in the August 30, 2016 issue of Law360.
In the article, Ruskin is critical of mediation confidentiality agreements that require parties to prospectively release the mediator from future claims no matter how egregious the mediator’s actions. The primary objective of a mediation confidentiality agreement is to encourage the parties and their counsel to speak freely and candidly during the mediation without fear that the statements made, or positions taken, will be used against them in future proceedings. Confidentiality agreements should not be used to shield a mediator from liability for acts of fraud, coercion or conflict of interest. Ruskin points out that currently there are no widely accepted guidelines concerning the qualifications a mediator should possess. In addressing this concern, Ruskin observes that the Southern District of New York's Alternative Dispute Resolution program has taken steps to standardize mediation practice in its court-annexed mediation program, including the implementation of a protocol to continue formal evaluation of mediators once they are added to its mediation roster.
To read the full article, please click here.
Ruskin is a volunteer mediator in the civil mediation program of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Having mediated disputes in that court for 20 years, he was appointed to its Mediation Advisory Committee in 2015.
Ruskin is a partner in the Environmental/Toxic Tort, Agricultural Chemicals & Pesticides, Drug & Medical Device, and Tort & Product Liability Practice Groups. He has more than 35 years of experience defending major industrial companies and manufacturers nationally in products liability, toxic tort, and environmental actions, including CERCLA.