WGA Strike: Who is Federal Mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez?

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WGA Strike: Who is Federal Mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez?

Wed Nov 07, 2007 @ 04:20PM PST

Posted by Matthew Belloni

Wga_logo With the WGA strike now a reality, we thought we'd offer a little background info on Juan Carlos Gonzalez, the Federal mediator charged with bringing together two sides so devoted to their positions they're willing to shut down their industry to get their way.

That's proven an oddly tough task. We contacted the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (the Federal government's mediation provider), but unlike private mediation/arbitration companies, they don't release bios or photos of their mediators. They directed us to their website, which gave us Gonzalez's phone and email but no information on Gonzalez himself. A call to Gonzalez wasn't returned (he's probably a little busy) and an email bounced back.

Then we tried the State Bar. From there and the FMCS we gathered that Gonzalez is a 1998 Whittier Law School grad (he was admitted to practice in California in December 1999 -- no discipline record!). After only four months practicing law, Gonzalez joined FMCS as a mediator. He's based in the Long Beach office.

Like many strike-watchers, we wondered if Gonzalez has any experience mediating entertainment disputes. So we checked in with a couple top litigators and labor experts. Akin Gump's Howard Fabrick, a top guild specialist (and THR Power Lawyer), hasn't dealt with Gonzalez. But Fabrick says he's heard from colleagues that Gonzalez has never mediated a guild dispute or any other major entertainment case. In fact, he most recently settled a garbage haulers' strike (insert your own TV writers' joke here).

Fabrick thinks Gonzalez is new to the game because Joe Medine, who previously handled guild disputes for FMCS, recently retired after a long tenure. We wish Gonzalez luck. He's apparently got a masters in clinical psychology from Cal State LA, which might help coax the warring sides into a settlement.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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