Remember that old WWII cinematic appeal to patriotism? Made a lot of us—at least those of us old enough to have been around—run out and buy a War Bond. I never expected the theme to reappear in the context of a mediation—but, then, lots of things happen at mediations we don’t expect.
As mediations go, this one was fairly routine, except in this case we had the emotional overlay of an alleged false arrest. Even accepting plaintiff’s version of the events and the validity of her claim, how much value do you place on embarrassment, however severe it may be? Obviously depends on the particular circumstances, as well as the personalities of the parties. Negotiations went nowhere. Plaintiff had a monetary figure coming into mediation and departed with the same figure, the mediation at an impasse. In private session, her attorney appealed to her to negotiate reasonably, to drop her inflexible demand, at least enough to allow defendant to respond. No dice. And then she issued the quintessential rationale for her position: “God is with me, and God will be with me at trial.” I had heard similar statements in the past, intended always to impress the mediator with the “righteousness” of a party’s cause, but this lady convinced me she was sincere, albeit terribly misguided, in her convictions.
I wondered later if, maybe, we should lead off these proceedings with a soulful prayer, perhaps holding hands, entreating the Almighty for guidance and reasonableness. Wouldn’t work. Each side would pray, respectively, for its top and bottom line. As a result, when it was all over, both would lose their faith in the Supreme Being, not to mention the mediation process.
Believing God is with you at mediation or trial creates a dilemma. Where was He/She at the time of the accident, at the time the injury, emotional or physical, was incurred? And, further, if God is in such control, maybe we have the wrong guy as a defendant. Why isn’t it God?
Okay, I’ll admit it was a slow month. But, folks, if you do not remember anything else, remember, God helps those who help themselves. And He/She is on both sides.
Happy Holidays! And forget that letter to Santa Claus. It won’t work either.
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October 18, 2000 The Honorable Michael B. Getty, Chair NCCUSL Uniform Mediation Act Committee 1560 Sandburg Terrace, #1104 Chicago, IL 60610 Dear Judge Getty: In January 2000, I presented to...By