What is a Successful Mediation?
I just thought I’d take a break from my preparation for a case and explain what a successful mediation is under the Defense Base Act.
I’m here at an actual mediation with a client of mine who’s a former Navy Seal and it just occurred to me that he was injured as a civilian contractor after he was honorably discharged from the military.
One of the things I was thinking about is that he won’t be able to utilize his skills he learned in the upcoming tragedies and conflicts that are going to arise overseas in Syria, China, Korea, Africa, or anywhere else in the near future due to injuries. But we need people like him—brave American heroes–in the many areas because the conflicts are starting to become severe.
Who Attends a Mediation?
We’re here at a mediation in Orlando Florida near the airport. The attorney from the other side is here from San Francisco and we have an annuity broker here today from St. Pete, Florida. And the mediator actually lives in Jacksonville.
The mediator is a retired district director of The Department of Labor. So I’m here with my client and we’re walking in to see where we have to go to our mediation. Looks like they’re ready for us here today. And we have two rooms here. We’re going to the boardroom and there’s another room for the opposing council.
What Happens in a Mediation?
And what happens in a mediation is the mediator goes from room to room back and forth for the next five hours or so to see if we can come up with a resolution where our figures and their figures kind of match and meet. The Goal of Mediation is a Settlement The goal of mediation is a settlement and we’re going to get close to something and hopefully get this case resolved instead of going to a judge in the future. And we have all day so we’ll see if it works.
Completely Confidential and It’s Non-Binding
Now we’re going to head over to our room. Everyone will be in the same room at the beginning and the mediator will explain that this is all completely confidential and it’s non-binding. It’s when both parties amicably want to try to resolve the case. So there’s not going to be any arguments and advocacy here and screaming and jumping around. It’s more of a cordial atmosphere to see if we can get something resolved for a lump sum for the client to you know enjoy his life and move on and get away from the insurance company forever. So this is what we’re doing and we’re going to go to our room now.
Mediation Starts in Our Room
See this works out great because I already see Mr. Lee. He’s here nice and early the mediator is ready for us and so that works out great. And so this is our room and this is how this is where the mediation starts and then after that’s over the insurance company lawyer is going to go into another room across the hall. We won’t see him for the rest of the day.
Mediator Goes Between Both Sides
And the mediator will go back and forth and give information on each side as to why we’re too high and why they’re too low. That’s what he does. He beats us up on this room. He beats them up in that room to try to get us to meet in the middle. So this we can come into the room and see how it works. And so we have an annuity broker here. And so we’ll probably be cooped up in here for the next five or six hours and hopefully by the time we leave we might not be totally satisfied we might be sad, but we might get this case resolved and then in a week from now we’ll all be happy.
Somewhere in the Middle
So that’s what works if both sides are very angry about the situation, but it’s resolved then, that’s a good thing. That means they think they paid too much and we think we got too little. And that’s a successful mediation right there. Both sides find an agreement somewhere in the middle. The reason Mr. Keating is here is because part of part of the lump sum for the clients’ benefit is to get an annuity type of situation going so that he’s guaranteed money pretty much for the rest of his life or for the next 25 years in terms of a monthly stipend he knows he’ll get regardless of whatever happens.
Settlement is Forever
No one can ever take that away from him. If he hit the lottery and won $100,000,000 tomorrow it doesn’t make any difference. He still gets his annuity every month for 25 years and he can also use that money and put a beneficiary on it so that if something happens to him the beneficiary will reap the benefits of that annuity.
Financial Breakdown of the Money
So it’s just something that’s guaranteed as opposed to just a lump sum in his pocket that he can do whatever he wants with. So we’re going to figure out today if we get to a number that’s satisfactory, that’s significant, then we’re going to figure out that the fun stuff starts after that. Then we figure out how much money should be annuitized for guaranteed situations and how much money in a lump sum that he would need to get on with his life to buy a house if for cash to do whatever he needs to do to get himself ready for his future without the insurance company involved which is a great thing.
NOTE: The Mediation was successful. Brian reached a settlement for the client within several hours. The case began in January 2016 and ended in August 2016.
And so again Brian from Garfinkel Schwartz hoping you learned something out of this mediation situation. And if you have any questions just call any time or look me up on the website. Thanks. Take care.