Last time, I wrote about an Associated Press story on Forbes.com on October 14, 2008 about a federal judge’s appointment of a mediator to work with parties to reach a settlement on damages in a bankruptcy case. Asarco, LLC seeks more than $10 billion in damages against Americas Mining Corporation. The judge has already ruled on liability and now wants the parties to try to resolve the damages issue with the mediator’s help, in sessions today and tomorrow.
That time I wrote about how this case highlights the flexibility of the mediation process. This case illustrates another point about business mediation. Some people who are not very familiar with business mediation think that its use is limited to “small” or low-value disputes. In fact, sophisticated parties and counsel know that mediation can be helpful in cases of any size. One of the benefits of mediation in the context of a litigated dispute is that a resolution that the parties reach with the help of a mediator removes the danger of a highly unfavorable result at the hands of a judge or jury. Rolling the dice can be a risky business decision– whether $1,000 or $1,000,000,000 is at stake.