Last Updated: November 2012
Mediation is a process where two parties can attempt to settle a dispute with the assistance of a neutral third party. Mediation is different from Arbitration because with Arbitration, the neutral third party makes the final decision for the two parties. With mediation, the neutral third party does not make any decisions for the parties, their goal is to allow the two parties to speak their minds and attempt to get each party to give in a little and arrive at a compromise with the assistance of the mediator. Mediation is usually court-ordered, but sometimes the parties opt for mediation in an attempt to settle the dispute without having to go through the ordeal and expense of going to trial.
Mediation is often extremely helpful in resolving lemon law cases because mediation is sometimes the very first time that the defendant actually meets the plaintiff face to face. Once the defendant has the opportunity to hear the plaintiff’s side of the story, the defendant gets to see how likable, articulate, and sympathetic the plaintiff is. This can help a stingy defendant increase their settlement offer because they know that the plaintiff will do well in front of a jury. In other cases, the plaintiff gets the opportunity to hear the arguments of the defendant directly from the defendant’s representative and this can sway the plaintiff to lower their settlement demand if the law and the facts are on the defendant’s side.
If the two parties are having trouble reaching a settlement on their own, the right mediator can often get the parties to move towards a settlement. The very best mediators are those who know the law involved in the dispute and there are even a few mediators who are very well versed in lemon law. At the California Lemon Law Group, we attempt to resolve all of our cases informally and for the most part, we are successful. However, there are some cases that require the use of a mediator and we routinely utilize these mediators to settle disputes and have had great success.