Mr. Saltarelli’s mediation experience includes:
- Commercial liability insurance coverage and broker disputes.
- Professional liability claims.
- Breach of commercial and long term supply contracts.
- Disputes arising out of asset purchase agreements.
- Interpretation and performance of executive employment agreements.
- Title insurance claims.
- Rights of first refusal.
- Tax shelter claims.
Not every case can be settled; some require the decision of a judge, jury, or arbitrator. But many can be if the right ingredients are present. A successful mediation requires parties who desire to settle and have sufficient factual understanding of the dispute to make a hard decision, and an engaged and hard-working mediator. To be effective, the mediator must fully understand the legal and factual issues that drive the dispute, and then employ three essential strategies as circumstances require. First, the mediator must engage in an informative discussion with each party to derive a realistic understanding of that party’s positions, sensitivities, and goals. Second, he or she should attempt to develop a common settlement structure and range. There is no magic to this. Patient and repeated discussion with the parties, including the exchange of suggestions, offers, and counteroffers, is necessary to discover where the common ground lies. Finally, certain disputes or parties require a more evaluative approach. Commenting on the merits of a party’s position should always be done truthfully, sparingly, and in a confidential caucus. The mediator certainly should not impose his or her view, but the mediator’s candid evaluation of a claim, theory, or issue potentially may assist a party in reaching a more realistic assessment of its position.
Mediation entails hard work and more hard work. Understanding the facts and issues is only the starting point. The mediator must understand the dynamics among the parties, keep them engaged, guide them forward, and, above, all never give up while the parties are still in the room.