Florida (WiredPRNews.com) — The person who wants to feel vulnerable, judged and embarrassed has never darkened my door—personally or professionally. In the face of that fact, plaintiffs file lawsuits and defendants defend lawsuits, subjecting themselves to vulnerability and embarrassment on a daily basis. The motives they claim vary, but each case begins with a sense of righteousness, entitlement and principle on both sides. If that were not true, then the issue would be resolved before it ever began.
Statistically, more than 90% of all suits are settled without a decision from a judge or jury. Why is that? How can a dispute, grounded in what both sides believe to be a fundamental difference of opinion, end with a voluntary resolution? The reason is that everyone is looking for an acceptable face saving alternative. They just don’t know how to define it.
Both sides want a “fair and reasonable” settlement. They simply have to agree on what that is. Pride, puffery and posturing get in the way. The path to overcome those obstacles is to remove the discussion from what is “fair” for an injury (there is no fair amount of money to be injured), and steer it toward the only two resolution values for any case—a compromise number between the plaintiff’s and defendant’s values or a jury verdict.
An acceptable face saving alternative is most likely found in a process where the parties who could win or lose make a decision based on their only alternatives—agree to settle or go to trial. Settlement should bear a reasonable relationship to evaluations of the range of likely trial outcomes. If it does, then no one has lost face but has instead made a good decision based on available opportunities. When both sides independently and realistically evaluate risk, almost all cases settle, not because one side is better smarter or stronger, but because both sides make sensible choices. What could be more face saving than that?
By: Samuel R. Ardery
Wired Contributing Writer
About Samuel Ardery – Sam has been honored multiple times as an Indiana Super Lawyer and was also invited to be included in the 25th Anniversary edition of the Best Lawyers in America. For more information about Sam please visit his website profile