The Edmond Sun

Features

July 5, 2013

ASK A LAWYER: Mediation helps disputing parties find common ground

EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a weekly series of columns written by attorneys at Lester, Loving & Davies law firm in Edmond.

Q: Is mediation a good alternative to a lawsuit?

A:
Mediation is a structured settlement process to help people resolve disputes by agreement. In many cases, mediation is a good alternative to filing a lawsuit. At other times, mediation is used after litigation has been filed. Although mediation during litigation is usually voluntary, sometimes courts order parties to mediate.

Parties or their attorneys often attempt to settle a dispute before filing suit. If the attorneys and the parties can’t agree to settlement terms on their own, but want to avoid the expense of a lawsuit, they can hire a mediator to help find resolution. If mediation is not successful, litigation can be filed.

A mediator is a neutral party who discusses the dispute with the parties and tries to help them each see the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions. Usually, mediation starts with all parties meeting together so that each side can tell its story and attempt to frame the issues. The mediator then spends time going from one party to the other in an attempt to reach a settlement. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong, or how the dispute should be resolved, but helps the parties decide how to settle it. What each party tells the mediator is confidential unless the party authorizes the mediator to disclose the statement.

Benefits of mediation can be tremendous. Mediation is usually less traumatic than going to court because it is informal and private. It is designed to put the parties at ease. If the parties do not reach a resolution in mediation, their discussions are confidential and cannot be used in court. Mediation usually costs substantially less than litigation. Normally, parties to a mediation have attorneys with them, to aid in negotiation, advise them of their rights, and the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s position. Nevertheless, mediation aids in avoiding long court delays and mounting attorney fees.  

The principal value to mediation, though, is that the parties — not a judge — control the result. Although some mediation, such as mediation in divorce cases, requires court approval, mediation is often a party’s last opportunity to chart his own course. This is valuable even if that course does not land him exactly where he wants. Because he has negotiated the course, the place of landing is, if not optimal to him, at least his choice. Happy sailing.

MATT HOPKINS is an attorney for Lester, Loving & Davies P.C. More information is available at lldlaw.com. Send questions to questions@lldlaw.com.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Authorities update Simpson’s saga

    Investigators are attempting to locate the owner of a dog named Simpson to determine whether or not his injuries were due to an accident or man-made, an official said.
    On July 1, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office investigated reports of an injured dog near the intersection of Western and Simpson in south Logan County, Lt. Tom Kutay said. Officers responded and took several statements of a dog being found with injures to its back, Kutay said.

    July 22, 2014

  • Whataburger celebrates children’s superhero spirit with ‘Super-Duper’ event

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Super Duper Celebration! In the heart of every child lives a superhero and on Thursday Whataburger restaurants will celebrate the superhero spirit in all of us with an evening of family fun from 5-7 p.m. at its location at 421 S. Broadway.
    Customers can spend quality time with their little heroes and treat them to a superhero-themed celebration of food, activities and giveaways. Children 12 and under dressed in a superhero costume will receive a free kid’s meal. There will be a Whataburger photo booth and Whataburger’s mascot, Whataguy, will also be present to join the fun.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shopping smarter for family necessities can help the environment

    There’s a growing trend among consumers to make choices reflecting the goals and values that matter to them most.  In fact, two out of five people say they’re more inspired to try a natural product that does something good for themselves, their family and the planet, according to a recent study conducted by Toluna for natural products brand Tom’s of Maine.

    July 21, 2014

  • Back to school lunch Build a better bag

    Brown bag lunches and back to school go hand in hand. As you’re gearing up for the start of a new school year, it’s the perfect time to stock the pantry with healthy sack lunch options and after school snacks, too.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pets

    This is a list of animals that have been found and are at the Edmond Animal Shelter, at Interstate 35 and Covell in the Cross Timbers Municipal Complex. Call the shelter at 216-7615 for more information.

    July 21, 2014

  • Kids Cook Simple ways canned foods get children cooking

    When it comes to teaching children about healthy eating habits, there’s no better classroom than the kitchen.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls The Canebrake offers summer recipe for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls

    The Canebrake, a destination hotel and spa in Wagoner, is offering the following recipe from its restaurant for Garden Vegetable Spring Rolls with Avocado Wasabi Puree.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 21, 2014

  • Quilt Edmond Quilt Guild celebrates 10th anniversary with event

    Quilting has evolved over the years and now, more than ever it is looked at as an art form.
    Edmond’s Quilt Guild is sponsoring its fourth quilt show and festival celebrating its 10th anniversary at the same time this week and inviting area residents to come and check out some of the newest types of quilting.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ryan by horse statue.jpg Good Samaritan who lost his leg ‘Keeps Moving Forward’

    He is an uncommon hero, this Good Samaritan who saved another man’s life and in doing so lost his left leg. Now his friends and family are reaching out to help him.
    While assisting a stranded motorist on Nov. 9, 2011, Edmond resident and Santa Fe High School graduate Tyler Ryan was hit and pinned against the back bumper of a car by an inattentive motorist on 15th Street in front of Crest Supermarket.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo