“A mentor taught me early in my career, not to miss an opportunity to mediate, even if settlement seems unlikely.” –Abbas Gokal
There are times the chances of early mediation have a slim chance of settling. Even under those circumstances, one may still want to consider attending early mediation. Gokal Law Group partner, Abbas Gokal, recently attended early mediation on a case where our client was alleged to have unduly influenced his mother to transfer assets to him prior to her death. The siblings filed suit to unwind this transaction, alleging undue influence and financial elder abuse, an allegation that our client wholeheartedly refuted as inaccurate. The attorney on the other side indicated a willingness to attend early mediation to help resolve this dispute to which Abbas jumped at the opportunity. Even though the parties were not able to settle the dispute at mediation, it was an extremely useful experience.
Our team suspected the parties on the other side were not being completely honest and truthful with their attorney. We had information to conclusively prove our client’s siblings stole assets from their mentally incapacitated father. We showed this to the mediator, who with our permission, disclosed this information to opposing counsel and his clients. This had to have created a level of distrust between opposing counsel and his clients. As an aside, it’s extremely important for clients to be truthful with their attorneys. Good attorneys can work with bad facts but cannot help with what they do not know.
At that mediation, we also learned that there was very little substantive evidence to support the allegations and the siblings had little money to sustain the cost of a lengthy litigation. While our client was willing to negotiate to resolve this dispute, his sibling’s demands were simply unreasonable. Mediation works only if both sides are willing to be reasonable. After mediation, we continued to conduct mediation and before long the siblings began having litigation fatigue. Once unreasonable parties feel the cost of litigation and the stress that comes with it, reasonableness soon sets in. Even if early mediation fails, where the value of the case necessitates it, parties can attend multiple rounds of mediation with either the same mediator or different mediator.
Abbas Gokal and the attorneys at Gokal Law Group Inc. are dedicated to providing you the support and guidance you need while working with us. Our attorneys specialize in trust and probate, personal injury, and employment law litigation. If you believe you have a case, you can provide your contact information here or give us a call at (949) 753-9100.