You have just been served with a summons. You only have a few weeks to either file an answer or attempt to settle your case. Experience shows that litigation often ends in settlement. Mediation is an efficient and cost-effective way of achieving a settlement while preserving the integrity of the individual parties and saving cost and time.
It is not too late to approach the plaintiff with a compromise, but how you do so will greatly effect the outcome. If you are a defendant in a lawsuit looking to avoid litigation and simply resolve a case in a simple, confidential and non-adversarial way, then mediating is pretty much your only choice.
Joe Doe has just been served with a lawsuit from All American Homeowner Association for non-payment of his HOA dues. Due to whatever reasons, Mr. Doe was not able to or perhaps wanted to pay his HODs. He does not deny owing the payments, but wants to prevent this issue from escalating out of control and resulting in a wage garnishment. He decided to approach Right Triangle Mediation for assistance and resolve this case amicably. Here is what was achieved in mediation:
- Joe remained in control of the case – working closely with the mediator, he was able to come up with an offer most likely to be accepted by the HOA. Through a few back and forth negotiations, the HOA accepted the payment plan.
- The lawsuit was dismissed.
- No judgment was taken against Mr. Doe.
- Defendant saved thousands on extra court costs, attorney fees, and interest.
- He remained in his unit and upon payoff of the whole negotiated amount had the lien taken off his property.
A1 Plumbing Supply has filed a lawsuit against Three Sons Plumbers for not paying for their supplies on time. However, the plaintiff, A1 Plumbing Supplies also know that the defendant, Three Sons Plumbers are one of their best clients due to the amount of supplies they buy. If the litigation proceeds, there is no way that the two companies will continue to work together. The plaintiff decides to offer a compromise through mediation. Here is what was achieved:
- Through creative outside the box thinking the companies found a way to work together on COD instead of credit.
- The unused supplies was returned to credit the delinquent amount.
- Work relationship was saved through contractual provisions.
- Both sides saved face and remained in business.
In court, there would almost be no possibility of achieving these results. As a plaintiff, sometimes it pays to allow the defendant the opportunity to make things right and by using a mediator one is able to do so very delicately while maintaining integrity.
Conflicts are a part of our everyday life. It does not matter what business you are in or with whom you communicate on daily bases, eventually you will come to a conflict. Most of the time they are small and are easily resolved, but sometimes our emotions get the better of us and instead of saying, “Let’s work this out.” We, instead, say, “I’ll see you in court!”
When faced with this situation, one must understand that a resolution will serve multiple purposes, including, money, relationship, and time. By using a neutral to facilitate the settlement of any conflict you immediately separate your self from the emotional aspect of the issue and thus begin to think rationally.
Bill and John and are brothers who own XYZ Plumbing. Bill does the books and John manages the employees. For years the business ran smoothly, but at times the siblings fought over who does the more important job. Eventually, a small argument got heated to a full on war and ended up with the brothers deciding to break up the company. At the suggestion of one of the attorney’s, they decided to try and mediate the issue. Here is what was achieved through mediaiton:
- Immediate emotional disconnect from the problem – due to the fact that neither one of the brothers spoke directly to each other, the mediator was able to convey their issues more effectively between the parties.
- Both parties remained in total control – the mediator does not make decisions, the parties do. Therefore in order to reach a resolution each one had to agree to the terms of the settlement. In court, the judge lays down the law.
- Exploration of underlying issues – because the negotiation did not have to concentrate on hard cold facts, the parties were able to explore the root of the conflict and reach a resolution.
Because of all the aforementioned benefits, the owners were able to reconcile and even though they still sold the company to a third party, they did it together because they wanted to and not because it was ordered.
When multiple like-minded individuals with many opinions come together to discuss different issues, oftentimes it helps to have a facilitator to moderate the process.
A creative advertising company just acquired a new client and is having a brainstorming session. Vast verity of ideas are flying from all directions, but no one is able to put things together into a feasible plan. When a facilitator is introduced to the process, he immediately breaks things down to its most basic forms. Things are instantly set up in a ABC format and he is able to direct and structure the whole group through the process, thus increasing productivity and lowering cost and time.
By being able to see things from the outside perspective, it is the facilitator’s responsibility to ask the right questions and maintain focus and composure of the entire group. Whether you are talking about a simple brainstorming session, a merger and acquisition scenario, or any other event with a large group of people, do not under estimate the importance of a facilitator.