Business and Commercial Dispute Negotiation Role-Play:

Bankruptcy Multiparty Negotiation Simulation

James Emerson with Ben Longoria, under the supervision of Professors Robert Mnookin and Lawrence Susskind
This exercise is a six-party simulation of multiparty negotiations in a bankruptcy (reorganization) and mass torts context. The simulation represents a ...

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This exercise is a six-party simulation of multiparty negotiations in a bankruptcy (reorganization) and mass torts context. The simulation represents a version of such negotiations which take place in the shadow of the Bankruptcy Code, with roles, interests and issues that have been stylized for educational purposes. In this exercise, a genetically-modified food producer has been sued by multiple consumers of its food products and is forced to file for bankruptcy protection in order to automatically stay (i.e., suspend) the flood of tort (i.e., personal injury) claims brought against the company, as well as those claims of the company’s secured and unsecured creditors. The company’s assets are “wasting” assets (i.e., they are deteriorating in quality, and therefore in value, rapidly). This means that the parties will have to reach an agreement quickly, if enough value is to be preserved to meet their diverse interests.

The simulation is primarily intended for use in a course on multiparty negotiations, though it also may be used in a bankruptcy course. It implicates such concepts as blocking and winning coalitions, BATNAs (Best Alternatives to A Negotiated Agreement), risk forecasting, and conflicting and compatible interests (the emotionally-charged and hard to reconcile interests of different kinds of creditors and a debtor).

This simulation requires at least ninety minutes to conduct: a ten-minute bankruptcy law background presentation (handout provided), ten minutes for individuals to read the general and confidential instructions and plan their strategies, five minutes of same-role strategic brainstorming, up to forty-five minutes of multiparty negotiation, and twenty minutes of in-class debriefing and discussion.

 

Participant Materials include:

For all participants:

  • General Instructions
  • Student Handout: Negotiating in the Shadow of Bankruptcy
  • Negotiation Summary Sheet

 

Confidential Instructions for:

  • NoDrink, Inc.
  • Secured Creditors
  • Unsecured Creditors
  • Severely Harmed Tort Claimants
  • Slightly Harmed Tort Claimants
  • Possible Future Tort Claimants

 

Bankruptcy Multiparty Negotiation Simulation Attributes

Time required:
1-2 hours
Number of participants:
6
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
Yes
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as all Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.