Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are Mediation Settlement Agreements Binding??

I always assumed that mediation settlement agreements were binding and have wrote many such agreements. However, the City of El Paso apparently thinks differently. Workplace Prof Blog ran an interesting August 14, 2008 story entitled EEOC and DOJ File Suit to Enforce Mediation Agreement which discusses El Pasco's refusal to abide by a mediation settlement agreement that resolved an EEOC charge. A DOJ press release is available here.

The City's actions seem totally frivolous. Let's see if the court will have the guts to issue sanctions against a public entity.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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There's binding and there's non-binding resolutions.

I only did community mediation, and that was always non-binding; i.e., mediated settlements were perhaps morally persuasive but ultimately only a provisional resolution that was strictly voluntarily undertaken and, unless expressed (and it never was), did not carry contractual obligations with assumed enforceability through litigation.

It was simply an attempt to propose civility (the settlement) and provide an opportunity to test it out. If they can't or didn't want to follow it, they didn't have to.

Posted by: kent | Aug 28, 2008 2:19:40 PM

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