Using Mediation in Complex Contract Disputes

Contract disputes are time-consuming and often confusing cases for both clients and their attorneys. Contract disputes arise between individuals, between businesses, or, in some cases, between an individual and a business. These cases can sometimes involve dozens of parties, multiple issues, various jurisdictions, and mountains of paperwork.

Although it may seem overwhelming to attempt to mediate one of these cases, it is entirely possible—and will likely lead to settlement. Contract dispute resolution, particularly mediation, settles a high percentage of cases in Florida. Once the parties to a dispute agree to try to resolve their differences in mediation, settlement becomes much more likely. To make settlement more likely in these disputes, focus on the following issues.

Often, mediation is not successful because the parties are not clear what the others’ positions are in the case. When there are numerous parties involved, as is often the case in a contract dispute, simply attempting to figure out what each party wants can take a significant amount of time away from mediating and attempting to forge a settlement. The solution to this problem may be as simple as sending a letter. When mediation is scheduled, send the other parties in the case a letter that lays out your client’s position and your understanding of the other parties’ positions in the case. This step will facilitate a discussion as to what issues need to be resolved at mediation.

For especially complex cases, it is helpful to schedule a couple of mediation sessions. One session can focus on certain issues, and the second session can focus on the remaining issues. Even though it may be time-consuming to schedule more than one mediation session, the case may still be resolved months or years earlier than if the case had gone to trial.


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Bankruptcy Mediation is a treatise published by the American Bankruptcy Institute