I recently had the pleasure of sharing this story with Marty Latz, who is one of the dispute resolution professionals I have long admired and respected:
One of my favorite resolution stories occurred in the Bronx. My client had been sued for allegedly hitting a parked car when pulling from a curbside parking space. We were in nightt ime Small Claims Court, which has a mediation program that parties can try while they wait for an opportunity to be heard before the Judge. After much discussion, it was clear that the plaintiff was not as concerned with winning when he wasn’t sure my client was the party who hit his car. He just wanted to be heard. His car was one of the few nice things he had been able to buy, and he felt emotional dings to match those on his car. We settled the case for $1 in exchange for the following apology: “I’m sorry that this happened to you.”
If we had been limited to a Judge’s determination, there probably would have been injustice to at least one of them. My client might have paid a settlement for an incident I still believe she was not involved in. Also, the plaintiff’s statements beyond the facts would probably have been stifled. This was a true win-win. They shook hands, both feeling heard and respected. I wish more of my cases could resolve this way.
Are you wondering if mediation might help free you from a current conflict? There’s a good chance it can. Tell me more
You might also find the below resources helpful:
- What Is Mediation? (Blog Post)
- How Do I Know If a Case is Right for Mediation? (Blog Post)
- Do You Really Want to Litigate? (Video)
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney and mediator who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills, especially in business and employment disputes. Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a human resources supervisor and minor league sports agent. She is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York Buffalo Law School trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She is also creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process.