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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Judge Seeks Baseball Arbitration in Church Sex Abuse Cases

Posted Jun 1, 2007 4:15 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A federal judge thinks an arbitration method developed in major league baseball could help resolve litigation over alleged sexual abuse within the San Diego diocese.

So-called baseball arbitration, in which the plaintiff and defendant each pick a figure and the arbitrator selects one of them, could help resolve a case in which 150 plaintiffs are seeking damages for alleged sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, according to Judge Louise DeCarl Adler. She outlined the idea yesterday, and attorneys for both sides said they would consider it, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Just as in baseball salary negotiations, the fear of losing big helps each side move toward a reasonable figure, Adler explained. “She is trying to lead us to settlement. That's the ultimate goal, and this is an interesting alternative that could work well,” says San Diego attorney Irwin Zalkin. He represents plaintiffs in the case.

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