By: Reed Morris
Litigation can be time-consuming, costly, and stressful. Should a case proceed to trial, a client can expect their costs and resources to increase even further. In most situations, it is in both parties' best interest to try to negotiate and settle a dispute before taking it to court, and to try to begin those negotiations early in the process.
Mediation, an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism, is a formal negotiation conducted with a neutral third party, also known as the mediator. The parties present their cases, and the mediator listens to both sides, offering impartial analysis, advice, and possible solutions to the parties’ conflicts. By presenting a case to a third party, each side can gain a better understanding of case weaknesses, strengths, and insights into the opposition’s case. Even if mediation does not end in a resolution of the claims, this insight can be invaluable in further litigation or continued settlement discussions.
In Colorado, many districts mandate good faith participation in some form of ADR before the case can proceed to trial. While it may be mandatory in litigation, we have also found mediation to be a good option early on in disputes. We often advise clients to try to resolve conflict through mediation prior to filing a lawsuit, and some contracts require good faith mediation before a lawsuit can be filed.
There are many advantages to attending mediation in business disputes. Unfortunately, disagreements often occur in business relationships, and litigation can be confrontational, adversarial, and potentially detrimental to future business relationships. Mediation provides both parties a venue to vent frustrations to a neutral outside party while still working together toward an objective resolution.
Mediation can also illuminate the other party’s legitimate concerns and needs, allowing the parties to work together to design options to resolve their differences. Settlement agreements achieved through mediation often include creative business, tax, and financial solutions beyond the scope of what a court could impose through trial.
The attorneys at Mallon Lonnquist Morris & Watrous have a broad range of mediation experience. Some of our attorneys have served as impartial, court-appointed mediators in employment, contractual, and commercial disputes; others have certifications in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. Our attorneys have worked with third-party mediators to successfully resolve matters through mediation.
We have mediated a wide range of business disputes and are able to provide our clients with a valuable approach to resolve disputes early and successfully.
Mallon Lonnquist Morris & Watrous, PLLC is a law firm located in Denver, Colorado, with practice focused in all major aspects of business, real estate, financial transactions, estate planning, tax, and related litigation. MLMW can be reached directly at (303) 777-1411 and www.mlmw-law.com