Example Of A Successful Mediation

  • June 25, 2022
  • 3 min read

In our recent mediation endeavor, we had the privilege of assisting two business partners in the state of Nevada to achieve a successful resolution. With the parties’ permission, we are sharing the key elements of this case, with altered details to maintain confidentiality.

Background

The disputing parties were friends turned business partners who jointly ran a niche restaurant in a small storefront. The restaurant specialized in one type of food, following an over-the-counter model with no sit-down service. After more than two years of relative success, differences emerged regarding the business’s future.

One partner advocated for hiring additional staff to alleviate the workload, while the other opposed it, citing increased costs and a potential reduction in profits. The impasse reached a point where both parties considered parting ways, leading to a potential legal battle over the business’s dissolution. The lease, crucially, was in the name of one partner, complicating the exit process for the other.

The Mediation Process

Recognizing the escalating tension, the parties were advised by legal counsel to explore mediation before resorting to a courtroom battle. Our mediation team engaged with both partners separately, acknowledging their individual perspectives and concerns.

The departing partner emphasized their significant contributions to building the business, expressing reluctance to leave empty-handed. The other partner, responsible for the front counter, resisted the idea of hiring staff due to perceived financial implications and a disagreement on the division of responsibilities.

Identifying Common Ground

Upon careful consideration, it became apparent that both parties shared a fundamental desire for the business’s continuity. The departing partner didn’t want to abandon the venture entirely, and the counterperson wanted the business to thrive without assuming extra responsibilities.

Exploring Realities and Risks

The mediation process involved a realistic examination of potential outcomes. Legal proceedings were likely to incur substantial fees that could surpass the business’s value. Furthermore, the departing partner, despite receiving compensation, would still be liable for the lease. The counterperson faced challenges in managing additional staff, which could impact the overall quality of service.

Crafting a Mutually Beneficial Solution

The mediation team proposed a solution involving the hiring of a part-time employee during peak hours, minimizing disruption to both partners. The departing partner would contribute two-thirds of the expense, reflecting a shared investment in the business’s success. This compromise aimed to address the counterperson’s need for a better schedule and the departing partner’s financial concerns.

Trial Period and Ongoing Evaluation

To mitigate uncertainties, the partners were encouraged to implement the solution gradually. Starting with a temporary part-time hire, they could assess the impact on operations, refining the arrangement based on practical experience. Flexibility in hours and days was suggested to accommodate the evolving needs of the business.

Follow-Up and Results

Approximately a month and a half later, the partners reported positive developments. While adjusting to financial changes, they experienced an uptick in sales. The solution fostered collaboration and prevented a potential crisis that might have arisen from a unilateral decision to dissolve the partnership.

This case exemplifies how mediation, rooted in empathy and realism, can steer conflicting parties toward mutually beneficial outcomes. By addressing core concerns and encouraging compromise, mediation becomes a valuable tool in resolving disputes and preserving business relationships. Stay tuned for more mediation success stories, presented with the consent and confidentiality of the involved parties.

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