April 2012 Archives

Blog #24 (Making Good Use Of Stipulated Judgments; Jerry Koosman)

April 18, 2012

During the last 2 to 3 years because of the state of the economy, I have dealt with more than my usual share of Stipulated Judgments on behalf of various clients, both on the providing and receiving ends. Stipulated Judgments are a cost effective tool primarily because trial and the resulting exorbitant expense is avoided.

For those who are not familiar with this mechanism (my non-lawyer audience who actually reads this part of the blog), the respective parties agree to skip the trial by settling for a pre-determined amount and the party being paid obtains a judgment for the entire amount in dispute, which is put on the shelf and never used so long as the agreed upon amount is paid in accordance with the agreement (in the agreed upon installment amounts and in the agreed upon time). Parties agreeing to pay are receptive because they are getting the equivalent of a debt reduction and recipients are receiving certainty.

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Blog #23 (Mediation Without the Presence of Clients with Settlement Authority; Marty Perez)

April 4, 2012

Twice recently, I attended mediations where I ultimately learned that the opposing lawyer failed to bring a client with him who had authority to settle the case. On one, my client was fortunate to learn that disturbing fact fairly quickly; we walked out of the mediation after only wasting about two hours (not including travel time). On the second, we were not so fortunate. We did not learn that our adversary failed to have someone present with settlement authority until approximately 5:30 p.m. - eight hours after we began the mediation. The client, in essence, paid three lawyers for accomplishing nothing. Additionally, two of their representatives did nothing at work that day. In hindsight, there really isn't much we could have done to avoid this.

Relying on your adversary being truthful, which we did in both of these cases, unfortunately, sometimes is not enough. What I will do with these parties in the future is refuse to mediate with them, unless they represent to the mediator in writing that their client representative will be physically present and will have actual settlement authority. Requiring them to pay exclusively for the second round, if such occurs, is something to be considered, but probably would not be well received.

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