Most people think ADR professionals believe that all conflicts are bad. Quite the contrary. Those of us who are trained and practiced in dispute resolution understand that conflict must ripen into one or more disputes for society to evolve along the arc of justice.
The social psychologists tell us that disputes arise whenever one person or group begins to believe that their deprivation arises from someone else's satiation. I'm not getting fed because my next door neighbor is. I was not promoted because my co-worker was. I didn't gain admission to my chosen University because “less qualified” students were admitted under affirmative action guidelines. K-Mart suffered crippling market share losses because its competitors, Wal-Mart and Target, engaged in unfair competitive activities (purely hypothetically).
Listen to author, mediator, teacher and scholar Ken Cloke on conflict. "Conflict," he writes,
is the sound made by the cracks in a system, the manifestation of contradictory forces existing in a single space. Many . . . conflicts represent the points of weakness in a organizational [or political or commercial] system.
To "make room" for those "contradictory forces" we often must raise a ruckus or ask for something we never believed we might be entitled to. Say, gay marriage.
Which takes me (at long last) to Scott Godes' recent post on contingent business interruption coverage.
Listen. Your interests are at -- at best -- in perceived conflict with those of your insurance carrier. That's why the entire field of bad faith insurance law was developed. Corporations once had a cozy, apparently non-conflictual relationship with their carriers because no one questioned the carriers when they said a claim wasn't covered. That was before catastrophic losses caused Fortune 500 corporations to call creative attorneys and specialties like environmental insurance coverage law were created.
Today, Dickstein Shapiro attorney Scott Godes creates a quiet and restrained ruckus by raising a conflict to the level of a dispute -- by way of his post Ensuring Contingent Business Interruption Coverage. Excerpt below:
Today, Insurance Law360 published a piece that I wrote regarding contingent business interruption coverage. Are you wondering what is contingent business interruption insurance, and whether your business needs it? I gave an overview of the coverage in the article:
First, an overview of contingent business interruption coverage. “Regular business-interruption insurance replaces profits lost as a result of physical damage to the insured’s plant or other equipment; contingent business-interruption coverage goes further, protecting the insured against the consequences of suppliers’ problems.” Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., 243 F.3d 369, 371 (7th Cir. 2001) (“Archer v. Hartford”).
Convoluted I know; welcome to my stream of consciousness.