The power of an apology. I know what you're thinking –
(plaintiff): the apology will be insincere & defense just expects it to reduce the demand.
(defendant): they will look bad and if it doesn't settle, will have harmed their position.
Twice in the past 2 months, apologies had a very positive effect on both sides. Defense was able to sincerely articulate something heart-felt, Plaintiff was able to accept the apology, there were hugs and even some tears. In 1 case, defense did pay less, in another, defense paid more-but it was less about the money, and more about helping with the decision to end the dispute. The apologies helped both parties move forward in a positive direction feeling good about a mend (however small) in their relationship, and, good about themselves, leaving the mediation and their ill feelings behind.