Mediation

“A Legal Moment with Rufus Law”

 

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”).  It is a way of resolving disagreements between two or more parties. The mediator, a third party, assists the parties in discussing the dispute with the goal of a resolution between parties. As an alternative to litigation, mediation can be applied to any dispute that two parties cannot resolve alone. For instance, mediation is commonly used in landlord tenant disputes as well as used in contract disputes between two business entities. The neutral mediator facilitates rather than directs the mediation process.

The financial benefits of mediation versus filing a lawsuit are an attractive incentive to those seeking economical ways to handle their quarrels.  While the cost of litigating a matter can be unpredictable and high, mediation fees are often a fixed rate/fixed time frame.  As a great alternative to litigation, the mediation process generally takes much less time than having a trial, sometimes achieving a resolution in a matter of hours.  While most court proceedings are open to the public, mediation remains confidential. No one aside from the parties to the dispute and the mediator will know what happened during the mediation. Confidentiality is so important that if needed later the Courts cannot force a mediator to testify in court as to the content of the mediation.

Mediation increases the control the parties have over the outcome. Mediation empowers each side to lead in obtaining a favorable outcome.  Alternatively, in court the judge or jury controls the end result of the matter. The possible resolutions that may emerge in mediation are endless and often depending on the parties’ willingness of cooperation. In resolving the matter, the parties can be creative but more importantly, they agree in order to resolve the matter. Therefore, mediation is more likely to produce a result that is mutually beneficial for the parties.

Parties of mediation are most times ready to work mutually toward a resolution. In mediation it could be inferred that the parties are more willing to understand the other party’s side and work on underlying issues of the dispute. This understanding and unity towards a common goal oftentimes preserves the relationships of the parties prior to the dispute.

 

The Law in Action:

 

Currently, Terrell Owens has a contract dispute with Indoor Football League (IFL) team, the Allen Wranglers. The Wranglers cut Owens from the team and he lost his ownership in the franchise due to a breach of contract allegation. It is alleged that because Owens failed to show up to a charity event representing the team that he breached his contract with the Wranglers. Owens contends he was not in breach but rather was not notified in a timely fashion of the event, which a representative of the team has since admitted.

Owens recently threatened to sue the Wranglers if he was not given a public apology about the false accusation that Owens purposely missed the charity event. Owens also wants to be compensated $160,000, his remaining salary due, for the final four games of the Wranglers season. Team representatives have shown no indication that the Wranglers will give Owens either the public apology or his remaining salary of his contract. To date, Owens has not filed suit against the Wranglers. Mediation is an attractive option in this present case because it appears that both parties may be willing to work towards a common goal to resolve their differences. Moreover, in the event that the matter is resolved with mediation it would save both parties expensive litigation costs.

 

Rufus Law, LLC

 

Rufus Law specializes in the mediation of contract disputes. Attorney Tiffany M. Simmons has been a certified mediator since 2009. Attorney Simmons, using her expertise, can help resolve contract disputes between parties quickly, comprehensively, and in support of a fair resolution. Attorney Simmons allows for parties to voice their concerns in a comfortable setting while guiding the parties to a resolution. Call us now at 1-888-91RUFUS to learn about our mediation rates. Now offering to corporations, the first two hours of mediation free of charge.

 

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3 thoughts on “Mediation

  1. it seems that sometimes mediation is seen as an admission of guilt. what can be done about the stigma associated with mediation for parties who may be concerned about their public image?

    would you recommend small businesses to build in a clause that requires mediation to resolve contract disputes. (I know it’s a very general question.) Also, when is it a good idea to pursue mediation as opposed to going to trial?

    • Mediation is encouraged over litigating a matter for a variety of reasons, and it’s not necessarily viewed as admission of guilt. Sometimes mediation is best for one concerned about public image versus litigation because of trial costs; publicity surrounding a trial, the issues can be contained in mediation versus in a trial, and the time it takes “dragging out the matter” in a trial.
      It is smart for a small business to include an alternative dispute resolution (mediation, arbitration) clause in contracts because litigation can be costly and time consuming. A small business may not have the resources to extend to litigating a matter. If there is a chance of the two parties working out the dispute, then try. In the event that two parties cannot agree using alterative dispute resolutions methods, then it would be best to go to trial. Simmons Law provides mediation services for our clients.

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