Mediation tip: Giving up the lawsuit

December 12, 2012

Some parties have difficulty giving up their lawsuit. If asked, "Are you ready to settle and put it behind you?" they may answer "yes", but their actions belie that. The plaintiff may have difficulty letting go of the one thing that has kept him/her going- the chance to get redemption, or revenge. The defendant may not want to let go because of the fear of looking weak, or setting precedent (despite promises of strict confidentiality with "teeth" for a breach). Fortunately most cases do settle, but for those that can't, I follow them until the "end", which is too often predictable. So, how can a party going to mediation wean themselves away from the lawsuit? First is getting reality checks about the merit, value & risks of their position. For most that will require "processing" to reach that understanding. Second, is seeing the positive picture of their life without the lawsuit as a major part of it, draining (more like "sucking out") their energy and good health. It helps to focus on their positive goals beyond "revenge", giving themselves their own redemption, not relying on someone else such as a judge or jury, to give it to them, which will often be disappointing; or focusing on getting a job, or performing better in their personal and business lives, or putting their energy back into running their business without employees distracted by depositions , "gossip", or their own fears. I have often said that litigation is negative energy. I enjoy mediating for the opportunity to bring people and businesses back into the positive energy of life, rather than the drain of a lawsuit.


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