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Abstract

This Comment examines the difficulties in using alternative dispute resolution, specifically mediation, to settle disputes between parties. While mediation is meant to lighten the courts' caseload, it occasionally results in post-settlement issues concerning the mediated agreement, leaving the court to determine whether the agreement should be enforced. This Comment examines such enforcement issues, specifically how often enforcement issues arise and the typical grounds on which parties rely to vacate or modify mediated agreements. It discusses the research conducted on New York State cases decided between 1/1/2004 and 10/31/2006 and describes research conducted by Hamline University School of Law Professors James Coben and Peter Thompson on mediation-related decisions throughout the United States from 1999 to 2003. The Comment also compares New York State decisions to decisions in the United States generally, and concludes that New York State's approach to mediation is successful and should be considered by other states that are faced with high percentages of enforcement litigation.

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