VOLUME 9 ISSUE 2 - May 2011

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The Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, in collaboration with the Moritz College of Law's Program on Dispute Resolution, is pleased to bring you Volume 9, Issue 2 of the Mayhew-Hite Report on Dispute Resolution and the Courts.

Evaluating Public Access Ombuds Programs: An Analysis of the Experiences of Virginia, Iowa and Arizona in Creating and Implementing Ombuds Offices to Handle Disputes Arising Under Open Government Laws

Daxton R. "Chip" Stewart

Ombuds offices have been established in several states to oversee disputes arising under state open government laws. The author conducted case studies of three of these programs. Using Dispute Systems Design theory, this article analyzes the major themes uncovered in the case studies of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Advisory Council, created in 2000; Iowa’s public records and open meetings position in the state office of the Citizens’ Aide/Ombudsman, established in 2001; and Arizona’s assistant ombuds for public access, created in 2007 in the Ombudsman/Citizens’ Aide office. Results showed that the offices largely comported with the major goals of ombuds programs – independence, impartiality, and providing a credible review process – but weaknesses in perceptions of impartiality hurt the development of the Iowa and Arizona programs. The program with the most perceived success, Virginia’s FOI Advisory Council, also appeared to embrace the tenets of Dispute Systems Design the most in the creation and implementation of the office, such as involving stakeholders and actively pursuing buy-in of government groups in the early days of the program. In conclusion, this article offers best practices for designing new ombuds offices or improving existing programs. [Read More]

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Letting the Arbitrator Decide Unconscionability Challenges
Karen Halverson Cross, a Professor of Law at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, has written an article examining the current trend of increasing deference toward arbitrators in the United States. This article appears in the forthcoming Volume 26 Issue 1 of The Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution. Professor Cross uses both historical and comparative perspectives in her assessment that the courts are increasingly allowing arbitrators to determine jurisdictional questions. [Read More]

CASE SUMMARY

Trustmark Insurance Co. v. John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.)
Reinsurer, Trustmark Insurance Company, filed diversity action against insurer, John Hancock Life Insurance Company, asking court to issue preliminary injunction to prevent further arbitration of alleged fraud by insurer in not disclosing documents relevant to prior arbitration as long as prior arbitrator remained member of new panel, and to prevent arbitration of a confidentiality agreement which prevented parties from disclosing evidence, proceedings, and the award granted. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois issued a preliminary injunction reasoning that the prior arbitrator was not disinterested. The judge also ruled that the second panel is not entitled to consider the decision made by the first panel. The injunction stopped the arbitration. Hancock appealed. [Read More]

HEADLINE NEWS

Moritz College of Law Continues Success in Representation in Mediation Competition
The Ohio State Moritz College of Law continued its tradition of success in the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution's Representation in Mediation Competition, taking both first and second place at the regional competition and sending a team to the national competition. The Moritz team of Ramsey Reid '11 and Jessica Kim '11 came in first place at the Region 5 finals, just besting the second place team from Moritz, Amanda Parker '12 and Nicholas Torres '12. [Read More]

Schwartz Lecturer John Braithwaite Shares a World of Knowledge on Restorative Justice
The Annual Schwartz Lecture on Dispute Resolution featured John Braithwaite, a renowned force in the restorative justice movement. Braithwaite used pictures and videos from his work with Truth and Reconciliation commissions around the world to challenge the sequence of "truth, justice, reconciliation" that is part of the standard understanding of how these commissions should be established. [Read More]

Three Moritz Students Excel in New Mediation Competition
A team from the Moritz College of Law successfully tested both their advocacy and mediation skills in a brand new mediation competition. The three student team of Wan Kim '12, Allison Tuesday '12, and Amanda Parker '12, reached the championship round of the first annual Great Lakes Mediation Tournament held in Ann Arbor, Michigan on February 4-5. [Read More]

Three Students Honored with ADR Writing Prize
Moritz College of Law recently honored three students with the 2011 Nancy H. Rogers Prize in Dispute Resolution Scholarship. Each year, the award recognizes students who, in the judgment of a committee of faculty members who teach dispute resolution, wrote research papers on a dispute resolution topic that, in the donor's language, "reflect the analytical rigor and intellectual breadth associated with highly-regarded scholarly contributions." [Read More]

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Maureen Fulton: Optimizing the Success of Foreclosure Mediation Programs
In the next four years, nine million homeowners could lose their homes to foreclosure. People walk away from their homes every day, losing hard-earned investments without knowing how to alleviate their financial problems. One big reason for home loss could be lack of communication. According to local judges in one county, 80 percent of homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure have not made any efforts to mitigate their mortgage troubles with their lenders. This paper addresses the problems homeowners face in dealing with foreclosures and how foreclosure mediation can help alleviate these problems. [Read More]

MORITZ ADR LINKS

Moritz Program on Dispute Resolution
Widely regarded as one of the nation's finest programs in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution, the Moritz ADR program was established in recognition of the need for future lawyers to be trained in an array of dispute resolution methods beyond litigation, including negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. [Program Home]

Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution
The Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution ("JDR") is a student-initiated, student-run publication and is the official law journal of the American Bar Association's Section on Dispute Resolution. [JDR Home]

The Caucus
The Caucus is a monthly e-newsletter that highlights the scholarship and accomplishments of the Moritz Program on Dispute Resolution faculty and students. [The Caucus Home]

Indisputably
Indisputably is a blog operated by law professors from around the United States concentrating on issues involving dispute resolution. [Indisputably Home]

Bridge Initiative @ Mershon and Moritz
The Bridge Initiative, which combines resources from Moritz College of Law and the Mershon Center for International Securities Studies, is an indispensable resource for those doing research in issues involving dispute resolution. [Bridge Initiative Home]

CONTACT US
Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution
The Ohio State University
Moritz College of Law
55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1391
(614) 292-7170
osu-jdr@osu.edu

The Ohio State University | Michael E. Moritz College of Law | 55 West 12th Avenue | Columbus, OH 43210-1391