Is It Too Early To Mediate?
Mediation is increasingly being used as an alternative dispute resolution method. As the time and expense of litigation increase, parties often turn to mediation as a means to resolve disputes. Additionally, parties are generally required to participate in mediation prior to trial. Prior to proceeding to mediation, however, parties should make sure that they are positioned to make final decisions regarding their case.
For example, if you are a plaintiff in a construction defects case, have you determined the cost to correct the defects? Do you have the opinion of a qualified independent expert who is prepared to testify that the constructed improvement is defective, and that the defendant is liable for the condition?
On the other hand, if you are a defendant, have you investigated the conditions that are subject of the plaintiff’s claim? Do you know what the cost to repair would be? Have you decided what you would be willing to do in order to resolve the claim?
Although mediation serves as a cost effective and useful means to resolve claims; and also can serve to avoid the time, expense and uncertainties of a trial, parties need to make sure that they are ready to enter into settlement negotiations. The mediation experience may prove frustrating and unsuccessful if the parties are not fully prepared to resolve their dispute. Thus, parties are encouraged to keep these points in mind as they consider when to request or participate in mediation.