Steve Hochman, New York NY Shochman@prodigy.net 12/24/13
By not hinting that plaintiff could do better than $55k you fulfilled both your duty of confidentiality and your duty of neutrality. If you even hinted plaintiff might do better, you would be breaching your duty of neutrality because you would be helping the party with the less competent counsel at the expense of the party who confided in you. It is not the mediator's job to level the playing field. If your were an arbitrator rather than a mediator, your ethical duty might be different.
A very interesting point. But when we think that this “bottom line” was disclosed only because of the confidentiality element of mediation process and not because of the faith in the mediator as such, and when the role of the mediator is not to evaluate, the neutrality of the mediator demands to maintain the confidentiality which is the root of the credibility of the process.
Russell Greig, Newcastle Upon Tyne 12/13/13
Interesting point, I that the purpose of the mediation helps answer this. That of facilitating negotiation between the parties, which hopefully lead to a resolution each party are happy with. It's subjective on each to decide what they would be happy with. That doesn't mean one party selling themselves short, after all if they walk away with $55000 they'll never know they could have pushed for $75000, if they were happy to settle for $55000