Mediation is a process where parties meet with a mutually selected impartial and neutral person who assists them in negotiating a resolution to their differences. Most courts today will require that the parties engage in mediation or another type of alternative dispute resolution before their case can go to trial. Call the Denver mediation lawyers at the Law Offices of Murray & Damschen, P.C., for a free assessment of your case.
Providing Mediation Services in Colorado for Construction and other Disputes
Not only does Murray & Damschen, P.C., represent clients in the mediation process, but Mr. Damschen also accepts work as a neutral mediator working with parties, who may or may not be represented by counsel, to meet and attempt to resolve their disputes.
The following explanation of the mediation process is provided to assist you in deciding if mediation is right for you. The procedures discussed are those typically followed in the mediation of a dispute; however, every case is different and flexibility is the key to the mediation process.
Mediation can best be described as an assisted negotiation process. The mediator is a neutral, unbiased party hired jointly by the disputing parties to act as a facilitator who attempts to assist the parties in reaching a settlement that is acceptable to each of them. No agreement or ruling is imposed upon the parties by the mediator; instead, the parties try to reach a mutually acceptable settlement through the negotiation process. Mediators do not make decisions for the parties or issue orders; they help the parties reach their own agreement.
There are not formal procedures in mediation as there are in court or arbitration proceedings. Before mediation commences, the parties and the mediator will often agree upon the procedures that will be followed. The parties can arrange the mediation in a way that makes sense to them and the mediator. Mediation provides for open discussion of the issues and allows the free interchange of ideas. Thus, it becomes easier to determine the interests of the parties and to fashion a solution that satisfies those interests.
The mediator can be an invaluable resource to all participants in the mediation process. The mediation process is designed to keep the parties focused and moving forward to a mutually agreeable resolution of their disputes.
In many cases, the mediator will conduct telephone conferences with the parties or be provided with position statements by the parties prior to the mediation. This provides the mediator with an understanding of the nature of the dispute and those issues that impact the parties' positions.
The mediation can be conducted in a joint session with the mediator and the parties all in the same room discussing the dispute and potential resolutions. Other times, it is best to keep the parties in different rooms and have the mediator meet with each separately, communicating offers or proposals from each party to the other. The mediator often shuttles back and forth between the parties, delivering settlement proposals and messages. The mediator keeps information from the private sessions confidential unless he or she is authorized to disclose it. The mediator will often act as "devil's advocate" in these sessions to explore how realistic the positions of the participants are and what might happen if no agreement is reached. The mediator often assists parties to prioritize interests and options for settlement and to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of positions.
If a settlement is achieved, the parties will prepare a written memorandum setting forth the key terms of the agreement for each party to sign. In some cases, if no agreement is able to be reached at the mediation, telephone conferences continue following the mediation session in an effort to resolve the dispute.
Mediation leaves the decision strictly with the parties. The mediator does not decide what is "fair" or "right," does not place blame or render opinions on the merits or chances of success if the case were litigated. Instead, the mediator acts as a communication tool between opposing interests attempting to bring them together by defining issues and eliminating obstacles to communication, while guiding the process to reduce confrontation.
In addition to his civil litigation practice with Murray & Damschen, P.C., Mr. Damschen also accepts cases as a Mediator. In January of 2007 Mr. Damschen completed 40 hours of Continuing Legal Education training in the theory and practice of mediation. Since that time he has gained experience providing mediation service through various local volunteer agencies. He has been a member of the Colorado Counsel of Mediators and has provided mediation services through the CAMP program and Jefferson County Mediation Services.
Mr. Damschen can provide either face-to-face facilitative mediation of disputes or shuttle diplomacy litigation settlement conference services, depending on the type of dispute involved and your specific needs and desires.
In cases involving smaller damage claims, the parties often encounter difficulty even getting to the mediation table because at least one of the parties may be unwilling to incur the expenses associated with a full day of mediation with many mediation firms. In many of these cases there is frustration for all involved when settlement could likely be achieved, but for concerns regarding the cost of mediation. While Mr. Damschen mediates all levels of disputes, he offers services with a significantly lower fee schedule in order to encourage parties to mediate cases that may not otherwise be mediated.
Contact the attorneys at Murray & Damschen, P.C., if you need representation in a mediation or arbitration, or if you need the services of a third-party mediator or arbitrator.