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Half term opportunities for mediation

It’s half term next week so you might be considering a rip to the fair ground, baking with the family or a boat trip, the not so subtle connection is that all of these things could lead to dispute which could or should lead to mediation.

First off the ride on the Ferris wheel at the Greene County Fair which led to horrendous injuries for three girls. Kayla and Briley (10 and 6 respectively) and the daughter of Michael and Patsy Laws all got into the same gondola with a view to enjoying the thrill and views available from going slowly round on the wheel.

However during the ride when the gondola reached around 40 foot high the bottom metal plate of the gondola caught on one of the cross beams stopping the gondola from moving and causing it to collide with the next gondola and as a result tipping the girls out and injuries to Lorena Cowhy and her granddaughter who were in the other gondola.

The girls’ injuries were everything form fractured vertebra, collapsed lung, internal organ injuries, broken arm and for Briley a traumatic brain injury.

Cowhy managed to prevent worse injuries to herself and her granddaughter by grabbing on when they were thrown out of their seats.

The three separate cases have been amalgamated against the owners, the manufacturer, the designer and the company which operated the ride.

The direct cause of the accident is alleged to be worn out rivets on the trim around the gondola but the defendants all deny negligence. The parties agreed with the judge, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cliff Corker, that they had enough information to enable a mediation to take place which is to proceed before the end of the month.

Over to the boating accident now and the multiple fatal accident and injury claims which are being brought against two companies (Ripley Entertainment Inc and Branson Duck Vehicles) cases in Missouri. In this case the defendants are seeking to end the claims by invoking an old statute which would limit damages to zero as the boats carried no freight and were a total loss. The move is seen by the claimants as a cynical attempt at derailing the court process.

Robert Mongeluzzi, lawyer for the victims said "Ripley's inhuman legal ploy will sink as fast as their death trap duck boat did”.

In tandem with that defence the companies’ lawyers have asked for the matter to be passed to mediation a request which U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool says he will consider at the start of next month.

Spokeswoman for Ripley, Suzanne Smagala-Potts, said the application was "common in claims related to maritime incidents…We have reached out to those most impacted by the accident and offered to mediate their claims now…Mediation often leads to faster resolution and allows those affected to avoid a lengthy process of litigation, and most importantly, begin the healing process."

Whilst it’s not a case which went to mediation the case of the “Gay Cake” should have done hundreds of thousands of pounds on both sides could have been saved and hours of court time and stress.

So says the man for whom the cake was intended. Councillor Andrew Muir of Ard and North Down, the first openly gay mayor in Northern Ireland, did not say whether he agreed with the supreme court’s ruling in favour of Ashers Bakery which placed the rights of the family firm to refuse to produce a cake supporting a campaign over the rights of a customer not to have their rights of the customer.

Four and a half years ago Muir was in charge of the a gay rights event in Bangor held to mark international day against homophobia and transphobia and it was for this event hat the cake was baked, a cake which would have cost £36.50.

Mr Muir said that as a Christian gay man he was deeply saddened that the debate caused by the case had caused the arguments to become polarised and that the matter should have been the subject of an early intervention of mediation which could have prevented both the incredibly long delay in resolving the matter and the estimated half a million pounds of costs involved.

We couldn’t agree more.

Whilst we hope that your half term plans go smoothly and that you won't need mediation as a result of any events if you do end up in dispute with your adventure weekend provider or your boat captain mediation is the best way to resolve your issues with a low level of expense, control over the outcome and in a timely manner.

Whether you need a commercial mediator in London, an employment mediator in Manchester, a dispute resolution for your family in Liverpool, a neighborhood mediation in the northwest, then our mediators at Northwest Mediation can help.

Mediation is cheaper, quicker and less stressful than running any case to court, it 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 via email at

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

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