The simple answer to this question is “because you want resolution, but you really don’t want to go to court to get it”. Litigators go to court, or litigate, and ask a judge or jury to tell you what you deserve, and that process sometimes works for the people and circumstances involved. Yet my experience as a litigator, mediator, and litigant suggest that a huge percentage of people who file court actions would prefer to resolve their disputes out of court. Some of the things I hear in those initial calls that lead to mediation are:
- “I can’t get them to return my calls.”
- “He hangs up on me when I try to talk to him.”
- “I like my job, but my boss makes it hard for me to get results.”
- “She’s still very talented, and I like her, but I don’t see how we can keep working together.”
- “I’ve gone to Human Resources, but nothing was done.”
- “Several of us have reported this issue, but nothing is being done.”
- “I’m not doing the job I was hired to do, and I’m afraid I’m going to be fired.”
- “This is not what we agreed to in the contract.”
- “I did the work. I liked the client. But they haven’t paid me.”
In each of these situations, the primary issue was a breakdown in communication. Having someone to facilitate the difficult conversations allowed the parties to give full focus to the dispute for a designated period of time, consider what they expected from each other when they started the relationship, determine what was still possible, and co-create resolution. Calls began to be exchanged again. Conversations were completed. Key performance indicators were identified and communicated. Payment finally arrived (sometimes under revised payment plans). Projects launched. Relationships were repaired or redefined. Can your court do that?
Where I come from (Kentucky), courts are for basketball! Although some cases will require court action (or adjudication in an administrative forum), there are many that can be resolved through mediation or facilitated negotiation. Where I can get you a quicker, cheaper, and more complete resolution through one of these processes, that will certainly be my goal.
NOTE: This post is a general overview of dispute resolution options. It is not legal advice, and there is certainly no guarantee that any of the actions detailed above will generate a similar or specific result. Past success is never a guarantee of a future outcome. If you require legal advice applied to your unique situation, please make an appointment to discuss it with an attorney with experience in the area of law surrounding your dispute. Don’t rely solely on what you read on the Internet.