By: Rana Goodman
It would be an understatement to say that this has been a disappointing legislative session for the state of Nevada. That is not just my opinion, the newspaper columnist in Nevada has been writing about it each and every day. Yesterday, although it was mixed with a touch of good spirited humor at the end of the hearing, Assemblyman James Ohrenschall mediation bill drew a most unbelievable question from Senator Justin Jones.
Consider the fact that the presentation for this bill explains that many homeowners want mandatory mediation to attempt to settle homeowner/association disputes because the cost of arbitration is so high. (90% of arbitrators are attorneys). The problem is that most fear going to arbitration because of the cost.
If they can go to mediation and it does not settle the dispute, either party would then be free to take their problem to court. The cost of the mediation would be about $500 split 50-50 between both parties while arbitration runs into thousands.
Senator Jones asked "where are you going to find ANYONE to do mediation for $500, I wouldn't do anything for $500?" (of course he wouldn't he is lawyer! mediators don't have to be)
Michael Joe, also an attorney who works for legal aid and was presenting the bill along with the sponsor, Assemblyman Ohrenschall, said that they already have a long list of people willing to do the mediation for that fee. The mediators must take a training course and be pre-qualified but having mediators was not an issue.
Not one person testified against the bill and after several homeowners thanked Assemblyman Ohrenschall for such a homeowner friendly bill "finally", chairman Segerblom joked "yes, he will definitely be canonized"