I am sure that many followers of this blog are aware that Raymond Ku, a professor at Case Western Reserve University’s Law School was suing its former Dean, Lawrence Mitchell, as well as the school. The case, Ku v. Lawrence E. Mitchell, et al., Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV 13 815935, is apparently settled. The parties issued a joint statement in which the mediator offers his opinion about the parties’ efforts during the mediation: http://www.chandralaw.com/The_Chandra_Law_Firm,_LLC/Blog_and_news/Entries/2014/7/8_Breaking__Joint_Statement_of_Professor_Raymond_Ku_and_Case_Western_Reserve_University_regarding_resolution_of_Ku_v._Mitchell%2C_et_al.retaliation_case.html. In this statement, the mediator, Michael Ungar, said, “In my opinion, Professor Ku acted in the best interests of students, staff, and faculty. . . .Likewise, in my opinion, the University has also acted in the best interests of the law school and all members of the school community. The devotion of both to students, staff, and faculty is unquestioned.” Ungar went on to add, “This has been a hard case, but everyone involved focused on finding a solution that would further the success and momentum of the law school. While the university and Professor Ku had significant differences regarding this matter, their sincere desire to act in the school’s best interests prevailed. I commend them all for their diligence, integrity, and willingness to look beyond individual disagreements and embrace collaboration toward a common goal. As is typical in these types of situations, the details of the resolution are confidential.”

Although the UMA, which is the law in Ohio, does not preclude the mediator from commenting to the press if the parties and the mediator agree to it, it seems odd for the mediator to express an opinion based on his evaluation of the parties’ actions and statements during mediation. Most mediators make a concerted effort not to engage in such evaluation during the mediation process.

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By Sarah Cole

Sarah Cole is a professor as well as the director of the Program on Dispute Resolution at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. She has focused her research on the legal issues and policy that have arisen as a result of the increased use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). She frequently publishes articles on dispute resolution topics and is a contributor to ADR Prof Blog.