Mediators review procedures following last week's shooting - Fox 2 News Headlines

Mediators review safety procedures following last week's shooting

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PHOENIX -

He was a husband and father of a 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. Funeral services were held Tuesday night for one of the two men killed in last week's workplace shooting.

Attorney Mark Hummels was killed by a man who showed up for a mediation hearing in his case.

That mediation session ended in gunfire, taking the lives of valley attorney Mark Hummels and his client Steve Singer. Eventually the gunman, 70-year-old Arthur Harmon, who was in a dispute with Singer's company, took his own life.

Mediation is a popular option to lawsuits. But this tragedy certainly has some mediators reviewing safety and security measures.

"I will say the entire legal community of which arbitrators and mediators are but a subset has just been rocked to the core by this," says Mark Lassiter, a valley attorney and mediator.

Mark Lassiter says the tragedy has prompted him to look at his own security risk. For instance, the gunman Harmon did not have his own attorney and was representing himself in the dispute. Lassiter thinks that plays into the security risk for a mediator.

"Parties who represent themselves pose a higher degree of risk than people who are represented by counsel. They don't have the mediating effect of a lawyer to calm them down or to give them assurances that 'hey we'll work this out,'" says Lassiter.

According to Lassiter, the mediator who was in the session with Harmon that fateful day saw no red flags. There was no sign Harmon was even upset.

"Ira Schwartz indicated to me there was nothing in the behavior of this gentleman that killed these folks that would have led him to believe that this was anything other than just a normal mediation that occurred at his office -- there was no tell."

Lassiter says there is often just no way to tell how close to the edge someone is. He says if he has a feeling someone might be unstable, he would ask the mediation be held at the courts, where there are weapon detection systems and armed security.

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