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Paul Kiesel
Paul Kiesel
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Judge Peter Lichtman priest molestation mediations

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Judge Peter Lichtman is a Superior Court judge in Los Angeles Superior Court and very well respected as a trial judge and mediator.

Judge Peter Lichtman who had been the mediator assigned to oversee Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange cases was rebuffed in his attempt to creatively craft a settlement around recalcitrant insurers. In a fascinating discussion of California Court of Appeals decision in Travelers Casualty & capture rating Co. Superior Court, 126 Cal.App.4th 1131 (2005) authors Richard Kellner and Michel Horton explain the missed opportunity of sustaining Judge Lichtman’s ruling.

Recently, our Court of Appeal missed a platinum opportunity to remedy this unjust predicament when it disapproved of one trial judge’s pragmatic attempt to harmonize the important public-policy principles behind encouraging complex case settlements with the privacy parameters of mediation. In Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. V. Superior Court, 126 Cal.App.4th 1131 (2005), the 2nd District Court of Appeal effectively squelched two years of settlement efforts when it reversed Complex Court Judge Peter D. Lichtman’s thoughtful remedy for an insurer’s refusal to participate in mediation of scores of sex-abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. As a result, the Court thwarted a rational approach that could have enabled a fair settlement between the insured and the underlying claimants while still providing the insurers with the protections afforded under California law.

Judge Lichtman continued to commit himself to the mediation process and was successful in co-mediating the Orange Diocese priest molestation claims to conclusion in February 2005.