Mediation Services

Mediate with Clark & Zedella

Cases filed in Florida are referred to mediation by the courts. Most jurisdictions in most other states now require that legal disputes be mediated at some stage of the legal process. This means that the parties must attend a mediation conference in good faith but are not required or mandated to settle their dispute.

Mediation is also appropriate pre-suit in many instances to determine whether the dispute can be resolved prior to the case being filed in court. We look forward to settling your case!

-Dwayne & Kristen

The following are some of the top reasons parties, with a dispute, should mediate with Clark & Zedella:

At Clark & Zedella we work as a team and in most instances, you get the benefit of two (not one) mediators. In our roles as co-mediators we provide two perspectives, with valuable feedback and input to settle your case. Dwayne Clark and Kristen Zedella are of different ages, experience and genders and we have found this highly valuable in analyzing issues and creatively resolving disputes. Two heads are better than one and our team approach has been proven over the years, in complex litigation.

You are in control of the outcome and choose the resolution. The decision is not left in the hands of a judge or jury who may or may not find in your favor. At mediation, the parties, with feedback from Clark & Zedella, design a settlement agreement that works for them based upon the unique facts of the dispute. Lawsuits, verdicts and court judgments can be very unpredictable.

Money is saved, on both sides, by resolving a dispute through mediation. If you reach a settlement in your case, saving the costs of litigation, you could net more in your pocket, avoiding higher attorney’s fees and expense of litigation. Yes, the parties jointly pay the mediator(s) but it is much less than the cost of litigation. With two mediators, at Clark & Zedella, we structure the mediation fee in a way that is reasonable and affordable for the parties. Our fee for two mediators is competitive with most single mediators.

Mediation is voluntary. If ordered by the court the parties must attend in good faith, with authority to settle, but a resolution is not mandatory. If the parties cannot agree, they can adjourn or impasse. However, a judgment or jury verdict is final, subject to appeal. Some parties voluntarily submit to mediation, with Clark & Zedella, long before a formal lawsuit is filed avoiding time, expense and stress.

Mediation is private and informal. Legal proceedings are not. Everything discussed at mediation stays at mediation but both sides can air their differences and discuss how they view the case without being constrained by the Rules of Evidence and Procedure and exposed to the public eye. Mediation is not adversarial like court and the parties can explore resolution in a comfortable setting.

As a neutral third party, the mediator(s), at Clark & Zedella, will listen to both sides of the dispute. This is valuable because it provides feedback on the parties’ positions. Many times, a mediator can bring issues to light or raise questions that the party is not focused on. This may help the parties to gain knowledge and to understand their adversary or their own position better and help the party to prepare their case at a later stage, if mediation impasses.

All cases have strong points and weak ones. No case is perfect. In a meaningful and transparent mediation fresh perspective is gained on the strengths and weaknesses of a case. As neutrals Clark & Zedella have litigated hundreds of cases as attorneys for plaintiffs and defendants. We know what it is like to litigate on both sides of the fence. Mediators don’t decide cases but, they can lend perspective with exploration and discussion of the issues.

Another mediation benefit is that of risk assessment. Prior to mediation, the parties may have some sense of how each side is valuing a case, but that sense is rarely based on hard evidence. As mediation unfolds, the parties exchange numbers and other factual information. They may share law that controls the case the other side had missed. Somewhere along the way, each side usually gets a better sense of how the other side values the case. That information is invaluable in assessing the risk of going to trial, especially in complex cases where trial expenses will be significant.

Most cases settle at mediation. If a mediation conference does not result in a resolution, the parties can agree to adjourn. In this instance we will continue follow-up by telephone with the parties at no cost, to work toward settlement. If necessary, we can reconvene at another time in a second round of mediation. Mediation is not always a one-step process, but valuable insight can be gained and lead to second round of mediation that ends the dispute. Especially in complex cases involving catastrophic injuries or death, it is not uncommon for the parties to reach impasse at mediation despite the best efforts of everyone involved. The parties usually have a very good idea of what it would take to get the case settled, but it just is not possible to bridge the remaining gap. In a failed mediation much can be gained from the process alone and the parties still have the right to go to court. Knowledge, information and perspectives can give context and understanding to disputes and can prevent the need for extended court battles.

The resolution happens right now. At mediation, if a resolution is reached, the legal proceedings stop or are never initiated. The parties don’t suffer months or years of costly legal proceedings which are subject to the court’s calendar, delays and rescheduling. When parties agree to try mediation, with Clark & Zedella, most disputes can be resolved within a matter of weeks. A typical mediation session lasts only three to four hours, but no time limits are typically imposed.

The concept of compromise works for everyone. In most cases both sides feel fairly treated and their viewpoint heard. There is never a perfect resolution but, through compromise and settlement, both parties feel there is give and take. A jury or judge will likely have to make a compromise, too, but the parties will not have input in the final decision. It can be all or nothing in court. Parties are generally more satisfied with mediation rather than going to court. Clark & Zedella will work hard to make sure both sides feel like they got a fair shake and reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Settlement helps most individuals move on with their lives. The stress, distraction, interruption and uncertainty of legal proceedings takes a toll on most individuals and companies. Some injured parties are traumatized. Settlement helps put the trauma behind them. At mediation, the resolution of the dispute helps most individuals find closure and the ability to return to daily life, with a known result. At Clark & Zedella we would like to be part of the solution and a catalyst to closure and healing for all parties involved in your case.

In our firm we are known by clients and adversaries to be highly prepared, professional, knowledgeable, fair, and objective. We can be aggressive when called for. We don’t come to mediation with “blinders on” or with a bias for or against defendant or plaintiff. We bring decades of experience from litigating very complex multi-party cases. We can be understanding and empathetic to both sides and we promise to be prepared and to work hard to achieve a fair and lasting settlement for all parties involved.

We have access to mediate at the Jax Mediation Center. The Center is welcoming, comfortable, and designed specifically for mediation. There are rooms small, medium and large suitable for any size mediation. The Center is appointed with technology that allows for Zoom mediations and television screens for presentations. Clark & Zedella are also available to travel upon request when it meets the schedules of all concerned.

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