Both state and federal court systems here in Pennsylvania and across the nation have been hit hard by budget limitations caused by the poor economy. That doesn’t mean, unfortunately, that there are fewer disputes to be resolved -- only that the courts are jam-packed with cases. If there were no option but trial in those cases, the delays would be so long that there would essentially be no access to the courts, or justice.
In April 2012, the CEOs of Apple Inc. and Samsung were embroiled in a wide-ranging, international patent infringement dispute over smartphone design. Under pressure from a U.S. federal judge, the two CEOs agreed to attempt to settle the case through mediation. That attempt failed, the case went to trial, and a jury found that Samsung had indeed infringed on Apple’s patents. For that and another patent infringement claim brought by Apple, Samsung has been ordered to pay nearly $1 billion in damages.
If you’re involved in a business dispute concerning $10,000 the cost of resolving the dispute is crucial. Both sides need to keep those costs low.
Most lawyers, and many sophisticated clients, have become fans of mediation for its efficacy and relative lack of expense in resolving disputes that would otherwise require litigation. How and when to use the very effective tool of mediation, however, remains a legitimate ground for debate. If the point of mediation is to avoid the morass of time and expense that often accompanies the discovery phase of litigation, why not go directly to mediation at the outset of a case? The answer, as in so many other instances, is "it depends." ADR/Mediation
One of the standard selling points for mediation (in addition to its time and cost savings, and the control retained by the parties) is the possibility of a "win-win" scenario unlike the zero sum game of litigation, where one side's sweet victory is usually the other's bitter loss. However, for parties locked in a contentious cycle with one another, it is often difficult to imagine how both can win. Working with a skilled mediator, it is our job as attorneys to find those opportunities and develop them through the mediation process. ADR/Mediation
Transcendental Meditation (TM®) is a familiar concept to those of us baby-boomers who grew up in the 1960's. However, without seeking to infringe on the Maharishi's trademark, and following the axiom that "less is more", the removal of a single "t" from that phrase results in a concept which may be even more useful in resolving construction and other business disputes. ADR/Mediation