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May 2024
Welcome to readers of Making the Connection!  
In this issue, you will find: 
  • In Focus: Limitations of Authority in Mediation
  • Question of the Month, answering a question about attorneys providing legal advice
  • Case on Point,  interpreting the transportation worker exemption to the Federal Arbitration Act
  • At the Podium, listing my speaking engagements and public appearances
  • Client Corner, spotlighting client events and announcements
In Focus
Limitations of Authority in Mediation
Many mediation program rules require the parties to send a representative with settlement authority to mediations. Sometimes though, the representatives who attend have limited settlement authority, meaning they cannot agree to proposals in excess of a pre-determined monetary limit or of a type that has not been pre-authorized.  Those pre-set limits can pose various challenges in mediation:
  • Representatives with limited authority may be close-minded to new information or ideas that suggest a settlement outside of the limits of their authority would be warranted or beneficial;
  • The limits on authority can be used to impose additional costs on other parties who may have to incur the costs of additional negotiations or mediation sessions to reach resolution;and
  • Even when representatives with limited authority can reach out to supervisors for additional negotiating authority, those supervisors have not been present in the mediation to hear the information and ideas presented and are hearing them second-hand.
To counter these challenges, mediators can:
  •  emphasize the importance of representatives having authority in pre-mediation sessions;
  • determine in caucus whether such limitations exist, and who are the real decision-makers; and
  • try to loop in the decision-makers as early as possible in the process.

Question of the Month
Q:Why should attorneys provide advice to clients in writing?

A: Clients often consult attorneys when they are facing complicated and challenging problems.  They are often looking for validation, rather than honest assessment and advice., which the attorney is obligated to provide. These factors can impede a client's ability to hear, understand and accept the attorney's advice.  Putting advice in writing where it can be reread by the client or shared with colleagues or other advisors can help ensure the advice is properly understood.
Case On Point
Bissonnette v. LePage Bakeries Park St., LLC
 (S. Ct.  2024)

Bissonnette signed an agreement to distribute LePage bakery products to stores and restaurants.  The agreement contained an arbitration provision.  Bissonnette filed a putative class action, claiming that its arrangement with LePage violated various employment laws.  LePage moved to compel arbitration.  Bissonnette contended that the arbitration agreement was unenforceable under the exemption to the Federal Arbitration Act  stating: "nothing herein contained shall apply to contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce."

LePage contended the exemption did not apply because it was in the food industry, not the transportation industry.  The United States Supreme Court rejected that argument, stating it was the nature of the worker's activities, not the employer's industry, that determined whether the exception applied.


At the Podium
This is a listing of speaking engagements, workshops, events and other public appearances.  To book me as a speaker or facilitator at your next company, client or association function, contact me at    
  • I was recently named to the Kings County Presumptive Mediation Roster
Client Corner
Client Corner features client announcements and events of potential interest to readers.

  • On May 17, 2024, Moxxie Network is hosting a Midday with Moxxie networking lunch at Hotel Indigo from 12:00 to 2pm.  Click here for information and registration.

80 Orville Drive, Suite 100 | Bohemia, NY 11716
© 2024, Lisa Renee Pomerantz. All rights reserved.

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