Five Situations You May Not Have Known Could Be Mediated

Five Situations You May Not Have Known Could Be Mediated

Five Situations You May Not Have Known Could Be Mediated

Mediation is a form of ‘alternative dispute resolution’ (ADR) that can be used to resolve interpersonal and commercial conflicts and disagreements. When most people think of mediation, the first things that come to mind are divorces and international disputes. But mediation actually has many more practical uses, including resolving disputes between: neighbors, roommates, co-workers, business partners, and even complete strangers.

By Ehsan Ali and Alnoor Maherali

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has gained prominence in recent decades as a method for resolving disagreements without court involvement. Types of ADR include mediation, arbitration, neutral evaluation, and collaborative law. Parties often prefer these alternatives to litigation and traditional legal proceedings as ADR is seen to be less formal, less costly, more collaborative and leads to more sustainable outcomes. Most importantly, ADR offers the parties greater control over the process and encourages them to seek a mutually agreeable solution, all while maintaining confidentiality. Not surprisingly, practitioners of ADR have come to understand it to mean ‘appropriate dispute resolution.’

In mediation, a neutral person works with the parties to help them find their own best solution. Parties have been known to seek mediation when: they wish to minimize costs, as they are sharing the cost of the mediator to help resolve the conflict rather than paying for their own lawyers; they want to determine their own outcome, rather than having a judge or arbitrator dictate it to them; they desire a resolution sooner and do not have time to wait months or years for their day in court; and when they need to maintain a relationship going forward and would like to avoid a ‘knock-down drag-out brawl’ that can happen in court. For these and other reasons, mediation may be right for many disputes. The following are examples of conflicts that Venn Mediation could help you to resolve:

Collision Crisis - Liam and Elijah are two strangers who were recently involved in a minor car accident in the Bronx. Liam accepts fault for the accident but disagrees with Elijah’s assessment of the damages. Luckily, neither of them suffered any injuries. Liam would like another assessment of the damages while Elijah just wants to be paid and to put the matter behind him. Each of them is worried that hiring a lawyer might not be worth it considering the extent of the damages but they cannot come to an agreement on a way forward.

Belligerent Beagle - Joan and Abdullah have been neighbors for eight years with few problems. Their adjacent houses in Queens share a backyard space in which Abdullah has a garden he is very proud of. Joan recently got a dog who has started digging up some of Abdullah’s flowers.  As a result, the two have gotten into shouting matches that are becoming increasingly heated. Their relationship has soured and they no longer speak to each other. But the problem persists and Abdullah doesn’t know what to do. 

Reluctant Roommate - Kwame and Maja have been roommates for three years in a small walk up in Hell’s Kitchen. Kwame doesn’t always do the dishes and Maja’s girlfriend spends a lot more time at the apartment than Kwame would like, but they get along well enough. Kwame lost his job three months ago and has been unable to pay the rent for the last two months. Maja covered it but now she feels that he isn’t trying hard enough to find a new job and she’s worried he won’t pay her back. Their relationship is now strained.

Cranky Coworker - Arjun and Carmen have worked together at a firm on Wall Street for the last two years. Carmen was transferred from another team two years ago, while Arjun started in the office and has been there for the past six years.  Their actual work rarely overlaps but they run into each other in the hallway from time to time and each week they take part in a team meeting. Recently, Arjun has found Carmen to be overly critical of his work in the team meetings and feels that she has been singling him out, but he is not sure why. He asked her to stop once, but she told him to lighten up and the other team members just laughed it off.  Now he dreads those weekly meetings and his work performance is starting to suffer.

Lasting Legacy - Shoshana’s mother was a chemist who created a revolutionary all-purpose stain-remover that works on all stains. With that invention and her business savvy, she built a multi-million dollar company in Brooklyn that employs hundreds of people. After her recent passing, the company was left to Shoshana, who was involved in her mother’s work while pursuing her own interests and career. She is now faced with tough decisions about the future of the company and is at odds with the Board on what to do. She is proud of her mother’s work but knows that the company’s market share has diminished steadily for the past five years. The Board wants to expand while Shoshana thinks they should sell and they are now at an impasse.

These are just a few examples of matters that could benefit from mediation. At Venn Mediation, we have learned that even where disputes are complicated, they can have straightforward solutions. While parties alone may not see eye to eye, with help from a trained mediator they can better understand each other and come to a mutually beneficial and sustainable outcome. Disputes are never easy, but dispute resolution does not have to be hard.  If you are dealing with a conflict, contact us about the nature of your dispute. We are based in New York but do online mediations as well. We would love to help.

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