By Stephen Ware, a law professor at KU, in Lawrence, Kansas.

Principles of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Principles of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Principles of Alternative Dispute Resolution, in its third edition, is a Concise Hornbook, published by West Academic. More information is available by clicking on the photo.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Informed Consent in Mediation

McGeorge Law Professor Michael Colatrella has an interesting article entitled Informed Consent in Mediation: Promoting Pro Se Parties’ Informed Settlement Choice While Honoring the Mediator's Ethical Duties.

His abstract:

This article explores the question of how mediators can promote informed settlement choices by pro se litigants while still abiding by a mediator’s ethical duties of impartiality and party self-determination. “Informed consent” is the legal term that describes the circumstances under which a person knowingly and voluntarily agrees to a course of action recommended by a professional, like a physician or lawyer. The mediation scholarship distinguishes between two kinds of informed consent: “participation” consent and “outcome” consent. A party’s decision to take part in mediation is participation consent. “Outcome consent” addresses the degree to which a party understands the consequences of the settlement agreement reached during the mediation process. Mediator ethical codes provide minimal guidance on the issue, leaving unacceptable ambiguity as to the role the mediator plays in a participant’s informed participation and outcome consent. Moreover, some mediation scholars imprudently argue that when a pro se participant is ordered by the court to attend mediation, the mediator must obtain informed outcome consent — even if this means acting impartiality, as that duty is presently defined. This article concludes that the law should impose a duty on mediators of informed participation consent, but not informed outcome consent. Requiring informed participation consent is consistent with the mediator’s established role of educating parties about the mediation process and empowering them to fully and knowingly engage in that process. Imposing the duty of informed outcome consent on the mediator, however, would create a significant conflict with the mediator’s ethical obligation of impartiality and undermine the efficacy of mediation.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Zero-sum Negotiation vs. "Value Can be Created"

Victorian Pynchon well states fundamental points when she writes "The key is not technique but general negotiation principles (such as, ‘value can be created,’ or ‘it is important to understand how parties’ interests interrelate’)....The first step to a successful mutual-benefit negotiation style is to stop thinking about give and take as a zero-sum game. "

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Private Information in Settlement Bargaining Models

Revelation and Suppression of Private Information in Settlement Bargaining Models, by Vanderbilt Professors Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum.

The abstract:
"We discuss the implications of various models of settlement negotiations for the revelation or suppression of private information held by the parties. This information may be relevant to multiple audiences, including those involved in the instant lawsuit; other potential litigants that may subsequently make use of the information in their own suits against one of the parties; and more distant observers and users of the legal process. We also examine how rules of evidence and rules of civil procedure can sometimes result in different degrees of purposeful or (arguably) unintended information suppression."

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Formation of Settlement Agreement

The Texas Supreme Court decided an interesting case about a settlement agreement being formed even though the offeror may not have wanted that.  As Jeremy Telman explains:

Amedisys threatened that it would not settle below six figures.  Kingwood responded with a settlement offer of $90,000, expecting that Amedisys would reject the offer and trigger Rule 167 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which would allow Kingwood to recover litigation costs if the case went to trial and resulted in a judgment considerably less favorable to Amedisys than the settlement offer.
Amedisys accepted the settlement offer.  This apparently was not what Kingwood wanted or expected, and Kingwood refused to treat Amedisys's response as an acceptance.