Companies Pledge to Mediate Year 2000 Disputes



A dozen major corporations have signed pledges to enter into nonbinding negotiation and mediation of year 2000 disputes, according to an announcement today by the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution in New York.

The pledge is intended to help companies avoid lawsuits, but does not prohibit legal action, in settling disputes with software and hardware vendors, year 2000 remediation services firms, suppliers, and insurers. The companies that have committed to the pledge are American Contractors Insurance, American Standard, Bank of America, Bechtel Group, Cigna, Eaton, General Mills, McDonald's, Philip Morris, PPG Industries, TRW, and Darden Restaurants, operator of the Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains. DuPont is also expected to sign.

In addition to avoiding costly litigation that can sour business relationships, mediation can be scheduled within weeks and completed in a matter of hours or days, says James Henry, president of the CPR Institute, a nonprofit organization. In general, he says, 85% of all mediations are successful in resolving the issue and avoiding the courts.

The CPR Institute is encouraging its 2,000 members to sign the pledge, and has enlisted several trade associations in the pledge drive, including the Information Technology Association of America and the National Association of Manufacturers.

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