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Bill Would Send Property Disputes to Mediators

March 24, 1994|DEBORA VRANA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SACRAMENTO — New state legislation that would require real estate disputes to be solved by mediation instead of lawsuits has been introduced in Sacramento, its supporters said Wednesday.

Introduced by Assemblywoman Julie Bornstein (D-Palm Desert), AB 3272 is sponsored by the California Assn. of Realtors and will have its first hearing April 13.

In mediation, disputes are resolved with the help of a neutral person who helps the parties clarify issues and explore avenues to a solution.

"This will create an environment where we can solve these problems. The California home buyers, sellers and realtors will all win by this and reduce the burden on our overloaded court system," said Garden Grove realtor Pat Neal, association president. The California Assn. of Realtors is the state's largest trade association, with 115,000 members.

Neal added that the California courts "should be focusing on criminal cases rather than resolving typical real estate disputes involving things like leaky roofs or faulty hot water heaters."

The California Trial Lawyers Assn. is expected to oppose the bill but has not yet taken a formal position.

"We have not made a decision whether to oppose AB 3272 or not," said Nancy Drabble, legislative counsel for the trial lawyers group. "We're still studying it."

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