Creative Mediation Process for Smaller Claims and Shallow Pockets

Some lawsuits do not justify the expense of depositions, motion practice, and Lordy, not trial.  For cases in which the amount in dispute is small or an uninsured defendant does not have much money, lawyers should consider same-room sessions for… Continue Reading

My Bill for Small Claims Court Fairness Becomes Law

Today, Governor Brown signed what remained of my bill to reform small claims court.  Thank you to all who supported the bill. Simply, it permits one spouse to represent both in small claims court. Small claims court, which includes claims… Continue Reading

De-escalating Conflict Through Respectful Communication: 11 Quotations to keep us on track.

De-escalation of conflict is important in mediation and in society.  We can do much simply by treating respectfully those with whom disagree. It is hard.  Often, I want to strike back verbally when I read words that run counter to… Continue Reading

Testimony in Support of Reform to Small Claims Mediation

Chair Prozanski and members of the committee. Background My name is Jeff Merrick.  Since 2012, I have served as a volunteer mediator in small claims court for Clackamas and Multnomah Counties. During that 5 years and over 100 cases, I’ve… Continue Reading

Improving Mediation and Trial Process in Small Claims Court

I drafted a law to improve mediation and trial in small claims courts.  One of the proposals is to allow one spouse to appear for both (so the other can work or take care of the kids).  It passed Oregon’s… Continue Reading

Please Support Improvements to Small Claims Mediation and Trial

Small claims court is supposed to be a fair way to achieve rough justice between two parties who represent themselves.  Oregon laws have been proposed to restore that goal and improve fairness.  This post explains how the laws can help… Continue Reading

Trauma Informed Mediation: Helping Distressed People in Mediation.

Mediation is a people occupation.  The best mediators quickly evaluate who is in the room and adapt.  Communication with cool, seasoned pros must differ from our interaction with people who are under the influence of significant distress. Yesterday, I attended… Continue Reading

Still Time to Talk Before Suing Your Doctor? Oregon Law halts the Statute of Limitations for Some Situations.

Caller:  I think my doctor or hospital committed malpractice. Attorney:  When where you treated, and when did you first think there might be malpractice? Caller:  2014, sometime.  I think July or August. With Oregon’s two-year statute of limitations,* what’s an… Continue Reading

EEOC Resolutions Announced Last Quarter.

GINA, transgender employees, methadone use, and a temporary restraining order prohibiting retaliation during litigation are among the issues raised in cases resolved by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last quarter. As usual, I’ll highlight the cases that struck me and… Continue Reading

“Clean Language” Is Not What You Think.

Yesterday, Multnomah County Court treated its mediators to a seminar on “Clean Language.”   It was not about avoiding F-Bombs.  Hell no.  “Clean language” is a method of listening, facilitation and gathering information that seeks to minimize “interference” from the facilitator’s… Continue Reading

Oregon Court Rules Private Attorney-Client Talk is not “Mediation Communications.”

Mediation communications are confidential; we know that.  One may not use mediation communications in a later proceeding.  What if attorney gave client bad advice during mediation?  May the attorney use mediation confidentiality to torpedo client’s legal malpractice claim?  Oregon’s Supreme… Continue Reading

Oregon Patient Safety Commission Reports on Early Discussion and Resolution

Oregon’s Patient Safety Commission issued its first annual report on the Early Discussion and Resolution (EDR) of serious adverse events. This post hits the highlights. What is it, again? “Serious adverse event” is an “unanticipated consequence of patient care that… Continue Reading

Jacqueline Abel shares mediator best practices.

Jacqueline Abel is well known to Oregon’s mediation community.  Few have more experience and exposure to mediation. It was my pleasure to work with her and learn from her when she served as Mediation Coordinator for Multnomah County’s Court. Upon… Continue Reading

Half-hour Mediation Prevents Malpractice Lawsuit.

True story. Cara (not her real name) “knew” her Portland lawyer, “Paul,” had malpracticed because another lawyer had confirmed her suspicion that Paul screwed up. Cara called me to see if I would sue her lawyer and / or take… Continue Reading