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Employment issues?

Those of you old enough to remember Tim Allen’s Home Improvement will feel a certain familiarity with the case going to mediation where the former host of a public TV woodworking programme, Rough Cut: Woodworking with Tommy Mac who alleges that his former employer WGBH (Boston) are using his name, image and trademark without permission.

Tommy’s contract was not renewed in 2016.

The TV station has now employed a new host (the not at all similarly named) Thomas MacDonald for Rough Cut with Fine Woodworking and the new programme began airing in April.

District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel has referred the parties to ADR where the above issues and those revolving round whether the original Tommy was purposefully misled by the stations EP Laurie Donnelly in respect of how to protect trademarks.

Tommy (the original one) also wants disclaimers at the start of every programme of the new show to say he is unconnected but the station argue this is far too costly an exercise.

The station’s argument that they have not used Tommy’s image was somewhat damaged when he filed programme listings e-magazine and hard copy which showed the new title but his face.

It’s often the case that during mediation documents or evidence is produced that damages or helps one side’s case, it’s one of the reasons Northwest Mediation encourages participants to address their mind to what documents they should bring to a mediation, what the position is and what they think the other party might not understand (including that they have evidence which shows the other party has misunderstood a position)

In other employment news some nine months after he was fired the former City Manager (Jonathan Evans) of the Riviera Beach City Council (Florida) is entering mediation with the council.

It’s an interesting case not least because the council itself has refused mediation on several occasions and only on this last vote did they agree to do so.

It's never too late to begin a mediation, even after judgment you can still seek mediation regarding enforcement.

The problems started when 3 council members voted to oust the City manager and he in turn sued the council for wrongful dismissal without notice or payment in lieu.

Barbara Bonar acting for Mr Evans stated that her client just wanted to clear his name. Bizarely no explanation has ever been provided for the dismissal but the three council members who voted hm out have continued to publicly declare reasons such as illegal acts.

Councillor Terence Davis read from a not publicly available document and said “How Mr. Evans broke the law and it’s in page 53. Broke the law”

The council hasn’t covered itself in glory members having “professional and intentionally” deleting relevant text messages dealing with the dismissal and one phone having “fallen into the ocean”, no doubt looking for Rupert Murdoch.

Another of the council members was replaced by a pro-Evans candidate Julia Botel who said “About nine months ago three members of this council made a serious mistake” and then proposed a motion which unanimously passed that the council would enter mediation.

And the chair of the council Tonya Davis Johnson (no relation) had the sense to add “We need to stop what we’re doing..The theatrics are disturbing. It’s counterproductive.”

Acknowledging the important role mediation has in keeping costs down Evans’ lawyer said “We are going to have four or five sets of attorneys involved and it’s very expensive”

Meanwhile in medical mediation news as we reported last week several of the cases against HSE Ireland for failing to advise women of the results of their abnormal smear tests have been proceeding through mediation.

The report this week shows that one has sadly failed to reach an agreement with the aggrieved party, Emma Mhic Mhathúna’s describing the process as “draining” with no result being achieved. However at least one case has now been resolved with talks resulting in an undisclosed settlement being agreed with one of the claimants known only as Mrs K.

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has already confirmed that the Irish Government will agree to settle all the women’s claims to prevent the stress and delay of trials against the US lab which conducted the tests.

Northwest Mediation can help with any dispute whether it's an employment issue or the sale at an under value of a property, a fight with a neighbour, family issues, commercial disputes or inheritance arguments contact Northwest Mediation on 07931318347 or drop Ed an email at

neighbour mediation; commercial dispute resolution; commercial dispute; corporate dispute; commercial mediator; family mediation; inheritance mediation; property mediator;

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