Mediation Results in Public Apology

While former Macomb County commissioner Phil DiMaria was running for a state house seat in 2012, an outfit called Main Street Strategies made robocalls to households in Eastpointe and St. Clair Shores, defaming DiMaria. After he lost the election, DiMaria sued Main Street Strategies and its head, Joseph DiSano. The case went to mediation earlier this year, and the results were reported in the Detroit Free Press this week.

The article says that the settlement specifies that DiSano is to issue a public apology in different formats, with DiMaria drafting the wording and Di Sano signing the apology letter. The settlement permits DiMaria to publish the apologies in local newspapers, with DiSano footing the bill. The article reported other provisions for the public apology:

“DiSano also is to dictate a robocall apology using his voice and ‘reasonable language’ drafted by DiMaria, according to the settlement. The robocall is to be paid for by DiSano and/or Main Street Strategies and must seek to duplicate as closely as possible the same households distribution used with the robocall that prompted the lawsuit.

“The settlement states that DiSano wants to personally apologize to DiMaria and his wife. DiMaria said all of the apologies are being finalized.

“DiSano also agrees to help DiMaria with a future political campaign, should DiMaria chose to run again. There will be free assistance within established parameters, which were outlined in the settlement. The apology may refer to this promise of future free assistance to lend credibility to the apology, according to the settlement.”

Phil DiMaria told the Free Press that Mr. DiSano was “very, very sorry for what occurred,” but never said why he did what he did.

Mediations often result in apologies, but they are not usually public. In this case, not only the apologies are public; other aspects of the settlement itself have been made public, through this newspaper article. Both Mr. DiMaria and his attorney gave statements to the Free Press, and Mr. DiMaria also felt free to disclose other aspects of the mediation that would typically be confidential, such as Mr. DiSano’s motivations for his behavior. A public wrong demands a public apology and, apparently, a public description of mediation outcomes.

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