Caldwell & Kearns, P.C.
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Mediation isn’t always the best way to resolve disputes

Mediation, as we frequently argue on this thread, can be an excellent way for parties to avoid the expenses and hassle of the adversarial process, for a variety of types of dispute. It is important to point out, though, that mediation is not always successful. In cases where disputants are not well-suited for mediation, the costs can accumulate and the mediation itself might never produce a viable settlement agreement.

That seems to be the case with a dispute involving Joseph Bocchini, a former New Jersey prosecutor who was accused of sexually harassing female employees by sending sexually explicit emails, making unwanted overtures, and engaging in inappropriate touching. In an effort to settle the case out of court, Bocchini, one of his accusers, and the county paid nearly $10,000 to have the dispute mediated. Unfortunately, the mediation attempt was unsuccessful in resolving the case.

Details about the mediation negotiations are not known, mostly likely because it was agreed that those discussions would remain confidential. By most accounts, the mediation service the parties used came with high recommendations. Still, there was no success in this case. Now that the mediation attempt has failed, the woman must wait out a six-month period of time before she is able to file a lawsuit.

The point we’re trying to make here is that mediation is not necessarily successful in every case. Depending on the issues involved, the parties who come to the mediation table, it is better in some cases to skip mediation and resolve the dispute in court. Knowing when a case is well-suited to mediation is not easy for those who have little knowledge of the process, though, and it is important to consult an experienced attorney to have the case evaluated and to determine the best way to proceed. 

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