The Spokane, Washington diocese announced that it had reached a settlement after 8 years of complex litigation involving claims of sexual abuse. The diocese and victims were able to reach a settlement via mediation.
Sandra Upchurch comments on the recent settlement:
The settlement reached via mediation regarding sex abuse cases within the Catholic diocese in Spokane, Washington is honestly the most intriguing mediation situation I believe I have ever seen or heard of. It is worthy of a semester-long case study in every law school. It touches upon elements of professionalism among the attorneys. It hits upon the frame of mind that is required of opposing parties facing mediation. It recognizes the labor of love that a resolved case can become under the capable hands of a strong, patient and experienced mediator. And, it all happens under the umbrella of two extraordinarily explosive topics: religion and sexual abuse of children. I cannot imagine the intricate planning that must have gone into each and every planning session, joint session, caucus, phone call, etc… Those handling far less complicated cases should take notes – if this case can be settled at mediation, ANY case can be settled at mediation. Hats off to Bishop Cupich, diocesan attorney Ford Elsaesser, attorneys Tim Kosnoff and Dillon Jackson, and mediator Federal Judge Michael R. Hogan. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall!
To read the full article, http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/mediation-new-model-settling-sex-abuse-cases
Sandra Upchurch is a mediator at the firm of Upchurch, Watson, White and Max. For more information visit Sandra Upchurch's biography.