What Happens When an Agreement Cannot Be Reached in Mediation?


Mediation is often an extremely attractive alternative to the courtroom. Formally termed alternative dispute resolution (ADR), mediation is typically held in a more casual and relaxed setting, led by a mediator. While the mediator may not technically be licensed or may not even have a legal degree, they are usually very experienced in helping two or more parties deal with some sort of legal dispute that has brought them to such serious odds that they cannot reach an agreement or settlement decision on their own.

In some cases, a judge may even send two parties into mediation during a case, requiring them to work it out. While that puts some added pressure on everyone in a mediation, it also takes them out of the stiff courtroom and out of what may be a more adversarial atmosphere. The mediation offers a setting where the mediator can help if the disputing parties have reached an impasse, encouraging them to think outside the box, and perhaps even learn to empathize with the other party’s situation. The mediator usually has prior, extensive knowledge of the case due to meeting with the parties involved before mediation begins, getting to know them both separately, and understand what brought them into the legal arena to settle their differences.

If a stalemate is so serious that the parties involved cannot or will not budge, the mediator may suggest they take an extended break. This could be a few days, a few weeks, or an indefinite period. If the parties are involved in a court case and they still cannot reach an agreement in mediation, this may not be pleasing to the judge, and their case could be delayed, there may be more mediation suggested (or required), or a trial may be scheduled. Such an ordeal is never easy on anyone, but negotiations simply may not be possible if neither side can give at all.

As in any negotiation, it may be up to the mediator or an attorney to keep the conversation going until someone thinks of something that they can give. Perhaps they have a concession they can make that would not paying them too terribly but could mean a lot to the other side. Most mediations are successful, and the exceptions can be frustrating for everyone involved.

Do you have questions about a mediation or a business issue, or do you need legal assistance regarding a business dispute? If so, contact the Bolender Law Firm.  Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

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