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Crafting Creative Settlements Since 1983

 

Products and Services

 

Dispute Resolution Inc. is a full service ADR firm offering a wide range of products and services. A short description of each follows.

 

Confidential Listener: By far the least intrusive and least expensive process available, Confidential Listener is a simple settlement attempt based solely on the real settlement positions held by the parties. These “real” positions can be, and usually are, very different from the positions articulated by counsel to each other. DRI solicits these settlement numbers in writing and pursuant to an agreement which details how close they have to be to resolve the case.

 

  • Mediation: This is a non-binding and fairly informal process where parties and their counsel make compact presentations to a mutually selected mediator. Following a joint session, the mediator shuttles between the parties discussing the facts of the case and both the mediator’s and the parties’ perceptions of relative strengths and weaknesses. In an effort to build consensus for a settlement, the mediator may suggest settlement options or structures which seem reasonable based on his observations and experience.

  • Settlement Days:  These are designed to be compact 60-90 minute hearings with a short (typically no more than 15 minutes) discussion of the specifics of the case with both parties present followed by negotiations with each party in caucuses.  Settlement Days are usually initiated by insurance companies and are typically for two party cases.  We can accommodate cases with three or more parties but we must be notified in advance of additional parties so that we can schedule accordingly.

    DRI is typically provided a list of cases and contact information for opposing counsel.  We then contact opposing counsel to get agreement to mediate, schedules the sessions and provides contracting for each case.  We coordinate scheduling with the carrier and its counsel, serve as the mediator and follow-up unsettled cases, as necessary.  All the insurer has to do is provide the list of cases and notify their counsel that DRI is going to be organizing the Settlement Days which are usually held at the offices of defense counsel.  To maximize efficiency, DRI seeks to schedule 4-6 mediations per day in this program.

  • Arbitration: Arbitration is a binding and somewhat more formal process where parties and witnesses provide sworn testimony, submissions are exchanged and a written decision results. Most arbitrations have some type of award limiting provision, such as a high/low agreement, in place which provides protection to the parties by establishing both maximum and minimum award figures. Our arbitrators are typically not aware of this range. There are other creative provisions which may also limit the award discretion of the arbitrator. Alternatively, the parties may choose to abide by whatever award the arbitrator issues.

  • Med/Arb: This process combines the principle benefit of Mediation, i.e. the ability of the parties to create their own resolution with the guidance of the mediator, with the finality of arbitration in that the mediator may switch roles and become the arbitrator of the case should it not resolve as a result of the Mediation. The only real objection that parties usually have to mediation is that they may waste their time and money by participating in a process which doesn’t guarantee a result. Med/Arb addresses that concern.

  • Mock Jury Focus Group: In many high end cases, parties wish to test their liability and damage theories as well as give their clients a real-life test run by presenting their case and withstanding cross-examination. DRI creates a demographically balanced jury pool which hears the evidence, then deliberates to verdict. Following its verdict, the focus group debriefs with the client attorney and provides their insights into how they arrived at their decision as well as what they did or did not like about the people involved or theories advanced.

  • The Private Jury Trial: There are some cases where there is both a great deal of money at stake and an interest shared by the parties to avoid either a lengthy trial or the inevitable publicity arising from trial. For this case, the PJT is an ideal answer because it is extremely compact, usually accomplishing in days what would take weeks to do in court, and is completely private. Persons interested in serving as jurors complete extensive questionnaires designed by DRI with input from counsel. After further screening, counsel select the final PJT panelists. The PJT also uses a retired judge or eminent attorney to serve as the judge in the process. This person not only presides over the PJT but resolves pre-hearing disputes. The PJT format is entirely flexible but typically includes live testimony of principals and experts. Following the close of the evidentiary portion of the hearing, the jury retires to deliberate. Though they are not aware of it, their decision is usually subject to modification by a high/low or some other award limiting agreement asdescribed in the arbitration section above.