Nevada County, California – 4/30/11 Arbitration Award Overturned by Judge


Arbitration Award Overturned by Judge

April, 30 2011

The Union staff
An arbitration award that had ordered an audit of Nevada County Superior Court’s Family Court Services has been overturned.Judge James D. Garbolino, a retired Placer County judge who on Friday presided over a petition by Nevada County Superior Court to vacate the arbitration ruling, has ordered the arbitrator’s award be set aside.“The court has examined the substance of the arbitrator’s award, and has determined that for the most part, it was entered in excess of the jurisdiction of the arbitrator to determine the questions involving an audit of the court’s mediation compensation exclusivity rule,” Garbolino wrote in an eight-page ruling.

In addition to over-ruling the ordered audit, Garbolino determined Gallup’s request for attorney fees — previously awarded in the arbitration ruling — as the prevailing party are also denied. Gallup said Friday those fees amounted to at least $35,000.

The petition was filed in Nevada County Superior Court in March and requested that a ruling be set aside that was issued in a grievance filed by Emily Gallup, a former family court mediator who alleged the court had violated state statutes and its own rules.

As part of his Feb. 6 ruling governing the mediation process, arbitrator Christopher Burdick ordered a review of the court’s family law mediation programs and processes by an independent entity.

“It just seems so unjust to me,” Gallup said Saturday. “All these concerns so many people have are being disregarded again. It’s painful. I just want to let people know that I’m not going to give up and hope they won’t either.”

Gallup alleges she was terminated by the court during the ongoing arbitration case. Burdick also awarded her back pay and attorney fees. (Gallup also has filed a wrongful termination suit.)

Family court handles cases where parties seek court intervention to solve their family issues. Judges hear and decide cases involving divorce, paternity, domestic violence and abuse, child custody, support and visitation.

The court also provides mediation to help parents resolve child support, child custody and visitation problems.

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