Appellate Mediation is part of the full spectrum dispute resolution services Mr. Strongman offers. Mr. Strongman’s considerable experience in this area started in 2007 and he currently serves on the mediation panels for the First, Third and Sixth Districts of the California Court of Appeal. (Note: the California Courts of Appeal in San Francisco is now suspended.) In addition to these panels, Mr. Strongman now provides appellate mediation privately.
What is Appellate Mediation and When Does it Occur?
Appellate mediation focuses on cases that are either being appealed or that are ready to go to appeal. Mediating a case that has gone all the way to appeal is not easy. The fact that a case has gone that far indicates that it was not one that was very amenable to settlement or mediation in the first place. Furthermore, an imbalance in power comes into play when the prevailing party in the trial court has the trial court’s decision on its side. By the time the case reaches appeal, there may be hard feelings coming from the trial, and the prospects of reaching a mediated resolution may seem daunting. While difficult they are not impossible and Mr. Strongman’s has a high success rate.
Sometimes the parties have tried mediation at the lower court level. In one of Mr. Strongman’s cases, the parties had gone to mediation twice, attended four mandatory settlement conferences with the judge, and completed a trial by jury. Both parties appealed the decision under different grounds. Mr. Strongman skillfully mediated and resolved that case in appellate mediation.
It is best that the mediation occur shortly after the appeal is lodged in order to save time, money, and effort.
Benefits of Appellate Mediation
By using Mr. Strongman as your Appellant Mediator you can speed case resolution and reduce litigation costs. Furthermore, you avoid the prospect of presenting your appeal to a sitting appellate judge as part of a settlement conference. Mr. Strongman is able to provide the best possible assistance in resolving complex disputes without further litigation. He has critical skills for handling the most intractable and contentious conflicts, regardless of subject matter.
Why Is Appellate Mediation Effective?
Joey Naylor: “Dad, why is the American government the best government?”
Nick Naylor: “Because of our endless appeals process.”
~Thank You For Smoking, 2005. [Emphasis added]
“It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
~Yogi Berra, 1973
These quotes sum up the need for Appellate Mediation. Even though a party may have a judgment from a court that does not mean that litigation is over. If a party appeals, then the litigation continues. It is costly in time, money, and opportunity costs to all parties.
Appellate Courts generally can make several rulings. But none these rulings occur until after all parties spend considerable time and money preparing for the appeal. The court can affirm the judgment in which case the losing party can appeal to a higher court continuing the appeal process. The court can send the matter back down to a lower court with instructions. Then you are back litigating in the lower court. The court can order a new trial. In this case you get to start from the beginning and litigate the issues all over again.
There are also lost opportunity costs. For example in a business dispute, you may eventually win, but by then the industry has evolved often making the dispute meaningless. This is especially true in emerging industries such as high tech.
Ken Strongman, a private commercial mediator/arbitrator of complex, high risk litigated cases since 2004. Disputes addressed include business, securities, construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, employment, environment, energy, and trusts & estates.
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