In Five Factors that Suggest a Case is Ripe for Mediation, bad faith expert witness Guy O. Kornblum writes:
· The parties have non-lawsuit reasons to settle. There may be non-lawsuit related reasons to settle. The existence of the lawsuit or a “bad” result may trigger losses in business relationships or a negative impact on a business marketing plan. The parties may also have an ongoing business relationship which would be costly to terminate. There are lots of business and personal reasons to settle, and if these are present they will motivate the parties to seek a negotiated result.
· While the liability, damages or collection issues remain, there is no clear barrier to recovery and payment of any judgment by the plaintiff. A lawsuit is a three legged stool: liability, damages and collection. All three have to be present in order for the case to have value from the plaintiff’s perspective. If any of these three legs are missing, the plaintiff has problems and needs to assess what course is the best way to move forward. Indeed, a modest settlement may be in order in such a case. But if there is no clear barrier to the plaintiff and the stool has some strength in all three legs, then the parties should be talking seriously about resolving the lawsuit. There may be a disagreement over the numbers, but that is why mediation is attractive at a timely point in the litigation process – to save the time and expense of trial, and eliminate the risk of a disappointing result.