SB 11-013, the Restorative Mediation bill, continues moving through the Legislature. The intent of this bill is to specifically include this specific kind of mediation as an approved form of dispute resolution under the Dispute Resolution Act, CRS 13-22-302 et. seq.
Restorative mediation has long been popular in the juvenile justice arena. For example, instead of detention, an offender might apologize and provide restorative services to their victim.
It is possible that restorative mediation could be a useful technique for resolving some kinds of community association law suits. However, we are concerned that if this bill passes, it could have unintended consequences for HOAs. Perhaps this bill could give “high conflict” homeowners another tactic for continuing to engage in disruptive behavior with their association, by seeking apologies and restoration for perceived wrongs.
Fortunately, the bill has been amended to limit potential abuse: it requires both parties to a restorative mediation to agree to participate, and any apology would be inadmissible in future law suits. We continue to follow the progress of this bill and will keep you updated on any impacts it may have on associations.