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The issue of who owns Giants slugger Barry Bonds’ record-setting 73rd home run is going to mediation before JAMS settlement ace Coleman Fannin. Both parties are scheduled to meet with Fannin on Wednesday afternoon at JAMS’ Embarcadero Two offices. They were unable to reach an agreement during four hours of settlement talks with San Francisco Superior Court Judge John Conway on Sept. 27. At issue is who owns the ball Bonds hit into Pacific Bell Park’s right-field arcade a year ago: the man who caught it, Alex Popov, or the man who eventually wound up with it, Patrick Hayashi. A videotape of the dispute shows Popov leaping to snare the ball. But a furious scrum ensued and Hayashi emerged with it. Popov sued Hayashi, claiming ownership and asking that the ball, which remains in a Milpitas bank’s safety deposit box, be returned. The case, Popov v. Hayashi, 400545, was on the trial calendar Monday, but Presiding Judge Ronald Quidachay persuaded the attorneys to agree on a mediator and try again to settle the matter. “We’ve agreed to meet and mediate,” said San Francisco solo Michael Lee, Hayashi’s attorney. “I think both parties realize that judge Fannin is pre-eminent in this field [and] is a master at settling difficult cases.” Martin Triano, Popov’s attorney, said Fannin was the only mediator both parties could agree on. “If anyone can settle this, he can,” said Triano, of the Law Offices of Martin Triano. Fannin is JAMS’ board chairman and a former 18-year Contra Costa County Superior Court judge. He is among the most respected and high-priced mediators. Neither attorney would say how much Fannin is charging. Lee would only say it’s “steep” money up front. According to a Recorder survey of top mediators and arbitrators published in June, Fannin’s daily fee is between $9,000 and $10,000. Although the key issue is the million-dollar ball, Hayashi also wants Popov to issue a national apology for calling him “a mugger,” according to Lee. Triano said his client has nothing to apologize for and was unlikely to change his mind. Another issue, according to Lee, is Popov’s insistence that he get the ball back, instead of reaching some accommodation to sell it and split the proceeds. “We told him earlier that’s a deal-breaker,” Lee said. Triano said when discussions turned to dividing up the proceeds, Hayashi wanted 80 percent, which for Triano’s client is unacceptable. “Hayashi wants cash, and Alex wants a piece of baseball history back,” the attorney said. If mediation fails, the case will return to the trial calendar and Quidachay will assign it to a judge to conduct a court trial.

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