Construction Law

Debunking Common Mediation Myths featured image

Debunking Common Mediation Myths

It is uncommon for a construction project to reach completion without some degree of conflict during the building process. While most issues are minor and can be resolved via informal conversation, some disputes can lead to months-long courtroom battles and severe financial repercussions. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods like mediation are often recommended to reach an amicable solution without the hassle of a courtroom, but meditation is still largely underutilized in regard to its function and capabilities. 

In this article, we seek to address a number of the common myths that prevent litigants from achieving the full benefits of mediation. For more information regarding the benefits of mediation, contact a Tallahassee construction dispute attorney with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Mediation Can Help Settle Your Dispute

Myth: Mediation Avoids a Day in Court

The first aspect to understand about mediation is that it is not a ‘winner-take-all’ process. By its very nature, mediation is focused on attempting to find an amicable solution that can benefit both parties while maintaining professional relationships. If the mediation process is conducted properly, both parties will bring supporting information to the table and, with the help of the mediator, collaborate to find a solution. The ultimate solution lies in their ability to effectively work with one another. 

However, if both parties aren’t able to reach a final agreement through mediation, then the case can still go to court to be reviewed and decided by a judge. This doesn’t necessarily mean that mediation was wholly unsuccessful, as smaller issues may have been discussed and resolved during the process, but the failure to reach a settlement still requires a formal proceeding. Additionally, as anything discussed during mediation remains confidential and cannot be admissible in discovery, going to court means that the case must begin all over again. If you’ve noticed negotiations begin to break down on your construction project, contact a Tallahassee construction mediation attorney to get back on the right track in resolving your dispute. 

Related: 4 Reasons Why Mediation May Not Work to Settle Your Dispute

Myth: Mediation Does Not Work if Parties Have a Fundamental Disagreement

Successful mediation doesn’t require the parties to be in agreement with one another at the start of the discussion. Especially since the alternative of litigation is typically a long and expensive process, many disagreeing parties might actually prefer to settle their dispute in this manner. This includes parties who are distrustful of or even angry with the opposing party.

Why? Mediation is more a matter of good business then cooperation and goodwill. The role of the mediator is to ultimately help the two parties reach an agreement, which means he or she will do their best to create an environment in which each party feels safe to express his- or herself in an non-confrontational manner. If there are any outbursts of anger or otherwise unfavorable emotions, the mediator will acknowledge their emotions and reframe the conversation back down an objective, fact-based path to resolution. 

Related: What to Do If Negotiations on Your Project Break Down

Myth: The Mediator is Neutral 

While neutrality is a key concept in the process of mediation, people commonly assume that the mediator assumes the role of a neutral intervener in the parties’ dispute. Although this sounds correct and the mediator should always be impartial and objective, they may not always be neutral. What we mean by this is that the mediator has the professional duty to ensure both parties have all the necessary information, understand the pros and cons of each option, and are heard in the discussion. The mediator is not neutral in the sense that they are disengaged in the discussion, allowing one party to take advantage of another during the process of mediation. If you find yourself beginning a new project, needing to file a lawsuit, or contest a lawsuit that has been filed against you, a Tallahassee construction lawyer from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants is here to review your legal options.

Contract Drafting Services

When you partner with a Tallahassee construction dispute attorney with Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, we’ll help you examine the advantages and disadvantages of multiple ADR methods before deciding which option is best for your dispute. Then, whether through arbitration or mediation, we’ll be by your side throughout the process of resolving your construction dispute. 

Additionally, we can help to prevent disputes before they even occur through our construction contract review & drafting services. This way, before the project begins, you are able to allocate risk and identify the duties of each party. Fewer ambiguities means fewer chances for disputes to arise during the project. We can also work with you to develop a dispute resolution clause that outlines how potential disputes are to be handled. This way, you can think about the limitations, time commitment, and cost of each method beforehand and approach problems with a level head. Our Tallahassee construction lawyers have handled numerous arbitration and litigation cases throughout Florida and are prepared to add a dispute resolution clause to your contracts that will best preserve your professional relationships. 

If you would like to speak with a Tallahassee construction mediation attorney, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.