Caldwell & Kearns, P.C.
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PA land development dispute in mediation this week

Real estate development is a field where disputes arise all the time, and developers have to quickly learn how to navigate these disputes to be successful. This can and does often mean going to court to have disagreements resolved, but mediation can be a part of the process as well.

For example, developer Big Bear Management Fund filed a lawsuit last July against Lower Macungie Township in Lehigh County Court over agreements related to the proposed expansion of a mobile home park, a project that was approved back in 2011. The agreements, which were established by the township as a requirement for having the project approved, included a number of requirements that the developer claimed were illegal.  

Big Bear refused to sign the agreements and asked to have disputed terms dropped in court, as well as damages for development delays. The judge handling the case ruled at the end of June that the developer failed to show that the agreements were illegal, and the dispute, by order of the court, ended up in meditation this week. It remains to be seen what will come up of the mediation, but if the mediation fails to resolve the dispute, the court will eventually have put the matter to rest.

The mediation in this case, again, was court ordered, but disputes do not always have to first go through the adversarial process to go to mediation. Many businesses agree to handle disputes first by mediation, and then to proceed to litigation if that doesn’t work out. Whatever the way a dispute makes it to mediation, though, there can be benefits if the parties are open to the process.

Solving a dispute through mediation isn’t always easy, and it isn’t right for every situation, but the process does have certain benefits, including potential cost savings and avoiding the publicity of the adversarial process.

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