• Potentially Reduce Costs with Mediation
  • August 26, 2013 | Author: Robert F. Higgins
  • Law Firm: Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed Professional Association - Orlando Office
  • Early mediation allows parties an opportunity to discuss their issues through a trained mediator and perhaps find some common grounds for resolution.  Early mediation also allows informal discovery that can foster a settlement as each side learns something about the strengths or weaknesses of the other side's claims and defenses.

    Normally the costs associated with early mediation are small compared to the cost of fully litigating a dispute.  If you opt for mediation, you would want to spend some time with your lawyer to prepare a strategy for your offers and counter-offers and to focus on what you think the real value of your claim might be or the extent of your potential liability.  You should also expect to split the cost of a day's time for a good mediator.  We would urge you to find a mediator that has experience in the subject matter of your dispute.  Mediators are not all generic.

    If your mediation is not successful, you will not have lost much.  In fact, you might have gained insight on the position of your opponent that might help put the parties on a path that will lead them to a settlement, either in a subsequent mediation, or after discovery better clarifies the facts and issues in the dispute.

    There is a growing trend for parties to include clauses in their contracts that require mandatory mediation of disputes arising under the contract before a civil action may be filed by either side. You might consider adding such a requirement to your next contract as a defensive measure.
    Construction contracts and some commercial contracts often require parties to arbitrate any disputes rather than going to the civil courts as a way to limit costs.  Normally, these arbitrations would proceed through the American Arbitration Association or, in some cases, via a private arbitrator.  There is also a growing trend in these types of contracts to require the parties to first mediate their dispute before either may seek arbitration.  Again, this is an effective tool to cut litigation costs.

    The take away from all of this is that early mediation may well help you to save on litigation costs before your dispute has gone too far down the road.  Remember that while you might not get all you want in the mediated settlement, most often the parties are satisfied with the result at the end of the day.

    The firm has six attorneys who have been certified as Circuit-Civil Mediators by the Florida Supreme Court.  One has also been certified as an Appellate Mediator.  These attorneys are frequently called upon to handle mediations in their individual areas of practice.  They are also available to assist you with preparing for your mediations and arbitrations and in crafting mediation and arbitration provisions for your contract documents.