Friend and mediator Charles Parselle recently sent along this brief but telling mediation vignette.
CCP 1942 tenant v. landlord action.
Pl: This is a no-brainer. 175k
Def: They must be (expletive deleted) joking, offer 5k
Pl: They don’t understand the law. 134k
Def: This has only nuisance value. 20k
Pl: We are certain to get an award of attorney fees. Atty fees are 75k and counting.
Def: They are liars. Atty fees cannot exceed 10k
Mediator: Let’s deal with atty fees separately.
Pl: OK. 50k plus atty fees. (At this point, fees not specified.)
Def: No, we won’t settle piecemeal. 30k total.
Def: 45k is our absolute max.
Mediator: How about 50? It’s an emotional number.
Def: (Thinks deeply). We will never offer it. But if they demand it, we will accept. Offer good for 10 minutes.
Pl: Good grief. Must talk with client privately and call co-counsel.
Mediator: Takes break and contemplates universal peace.
Pl: OK, 50k
Def: OK, 50k