Alternative Dispute Resolution

Essay by k-to-the-cUniversity, Bachelor'sA, August 2007

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Nick and Sally Smith had just bought a house and discovered many defects in the home that was not disclosed by the sellers. They were told that the electricity was upgraded, but found that it was not. They were also told that there was never flooding problems, but found to be untrue after several storms. The couple had reason to believe that the sellers, of their new home, misrepresented information in the disclosure form. The estimate of repairs came to around $9,000. The Smiths sent a demand letter to the sellers, which they denied that they misrepresented any of the information in the disclosure form. The Smith’s sales contract specified that any disagreement between the seller and buyer must be dealt with by mediation. MediationMediation is one method of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR methods are used for resolving disputes other than litigation. ADR aims to encourage the settlement of a dispute between parties in a flexible, informal atmosphere with the assistance of a neutral party.

A mediator will use skills that can bring parties together, buyer and seller, to find common ground to reach a solution (Lewis, 2004). The specific outcome of a mediation process is dependent on the goals desired by each party and the style used in each case. There is not a "one size fits all" in conflict resolution in my mind. Each conflict will have there own identity that requires a specific style of mediation. The outcome of mediation is relative to the style used in the resolution process. According to the sales contract, the buyer and seller went to mediation without success. The mediator gave a suggestion of binding arbitration instead of filing a lawsuit. However, the Smiths had a difficult time distinguishing the difference between the two: arbitration and litigation.