- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The judge overseeing the lawsuit over a failed $75 million state-backed loan for 38 Studios appointed a mediator on Tuesday, saying it could help avoid a trial over the deal with the now-defunct video game company owned by former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.

Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein on Tuesday signed an order directing the parties into mediation and appointing retired state supreme court Chief Justice Frank Williams as mediator. The appointment was first reported by WJAR-TV.

Silverstein said everyone involved agreed to mediation and to Williams’ appointment as mediator, according to court spokesman Craig Berke.

“It can save money and time, allows the parties to control the outcome, eliminates the risk of unfavorable rulings, and inspires creative and realistic solutions,” Berke said in a written statement.

The order says the mediation should start as soon as is practicable after May 29.

The process is confidential, and the sides cannot be forced to settle, Berke said. If mediation fails, the case would go to trial.

The lawsuit was brought by the state’s former economic development agency, the Economic Development Corp., against Schilling and more than a dozen others. It alleges fraud, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things.

The lawsuit does not ask for a specific dollar amount but for the defendants to repay the bonds. The suit seeks triple damages.

There has already been one settlement in the case so far. Last year, Silverstein approved a $4.4 million settlement between the agency and lawyer Antonio Afonso Jr. and his firm, Moses Afonso Ryan, which worked on the sale of the bonds that financed that deal.

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