Mayhall Fondren Blaize

Mediation is a dynamic option during a business litigation case

Litigation between businesses in Louisiana can be a grueling experience that wears down company executives and their budgets. Sometimes, however, business litigation between entities is unavoidable and a necessity that must be pursued to get a definitive resolution. In certain appropriate situations, the business attorney may recommend that the business client consider mediation as a way to find a more "relaxed" and nonconfrontational way out of the morass.

Generally, courts have incorporated mediation options into the procedural advancement of a court case involving a business dispute. In some instances, a mandatory attempt at mediation will be ordered and then reviewed to determine its efficacy. More often, the warring parties are the critical deciders on whether they want to try to go down this gentler, kinder road to dispute resolution.

Going to trial is a massive commitment of the time and resources of a company and its personnel. Discovery of electronic data in the modern business litigation case can create a tremendous strain, or at least a noticeable pinch, on a company's normal operational patterns. In short, mediation is an attempt by the parties to pursue settlement negotiations through a neutral third person who guides the process. There may be a series of meetings and communications designed to peel away some of the shadows and misunderstandings that may be preventing the parties from meaningful discussions.

The process is voluntary and the failure to find a way to settlement still allows the parties to go back to the litigation case and pick it up again. The mediator is not a strong-arm judicial figure who has the power to give orders and demand concessions. The mediator instead must use a good measure of psychological finesse in communicating ideas to the parties and their attorneys, and in suggesting that they try to consider certain potential pathways to settlement. Because there is far less pressure and no judgmental decision-making, the parties are free to guide the action in ways that they feel mutually comfortable. For these reasons, this is a method of dispute resolution in a business litigation case that is gaining popularity in Louisiana and other states.

Source:, "Mediation can resolve suits", Michael Loomis, Aug. 19, 2016

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