It Takes 3: Why Mediation Works

When parties are embroiled in a dispute, mediation with a neutral party can open lines of communication and resolve matters without going through the expense and pain of trial or arbitration. GAI’s Legal Counsel, Assistant VP Larry Gendzier, Esq., MBA discusses why mediation is the best course of action for conflict resolution.

No one wants to be involved in a claim or lawsuit. Unfortunately, such disagreements occur and should be resolved as easily as possible. Arbitration, courts of law, formal or informal mediations, and face-to-face discussions are the key paths to resolution.

What leads to arbitration and court? When one or both sides of the argument are so diametrically opposed to the other or so inflexible in their positions that compromise is out of the question. Arbitration and lawsuits are generally the last stop on the way to resolving issues that could not otherwise be resolved. An arbitrator’s order or a final judgment from a judge or jury always makes at least one of the parties to the litigation disappointed and quite possibly both will be upset by the result.

Most litigants will try to resolve their conflicts with face-to-face discussions between the decision makers. In many instances, in-person communication is all that is necessary to resolve issues. Life is good when this happens.

Yet, despite an initial willingness to discuss the matter, some parties often find it difficult or impossible to reach a mutually satisfactory solution to a problem. Mediation, either before or after a lawsuit is filed (prior to trial), is in most cases effective in solving conflict resolution, and is a great opportunity to seek closure with your adversary without the exorbitant time and financial expenses of trial and arbitration.

Mediation is a great opportunity to seek closure with your adversary without the exorbitant time and financial expenses of trial and arbitration.

A Breakdown in Trust

By the time mediation occurs, each party is usually represented by Counsel or not speaking to one another. With trust broken, the path to a settlement between parties has been ruined. During a mediation conference, a mediator can cut through some of the mistrust and open channels of communication. This neutral third party will often look at the problem from a different perspective and can negotiate a potential compromise.

A Fresh Perspective

A mediator is able to frankly discuss many of the issues and concerns that both parties would not consider discussing with one another. By pulling from his or her experience, the mediator will identify risks, exposure, pitfalls along the path to trial, financial costs, and time expenditures required, if the case is not resolved at mediation. If both parties are motivated to avoid further litigation and to find a resolution, a mediator will assist both parties to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of their position and to aid in formulating a settlement that is reasonable and acceptable to both sides.

Mediators have had a tremendous success in resolving conflict, and avoiding the drama, expense, and pain of trial and arbitration. It allows the parties to control their own destiny, find a compromise that is palatable, and reach finality in a much shorter time frame. Most parties in a dispute are not interested in turning the outcome of a disagreement over to an arbitrator, a judge, or jury for a potentially flawed decision. A mediator can be key to help them come to a mutually beneficial agreement out of court.

Larry Gendzier, Esq., MBAA Certified Florida Circuit Court Mediator, GAI’s Larry Gendzier, Esq., MBA, Legal Counsel, Assistant VP provides corporate and engineering risk management; specifically, contract review and negotiation, claim(s) investigation, and management. He can be reached by phone at 407.423.8398.

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