Business and Commercial Role-Play:

Dirty Laundry Small claims mediation involving meeting design, emotions and differing views in value and legitimacy.


Pat Aaron

Three-person mediated small-claims dispute between a dry cleaning business and a customer over compensation for torn shirts


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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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 will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

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

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (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, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (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, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. 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.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

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 “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, 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 “Quantity.” 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.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


Marty Kasenberg, a regular customer of Yee Chin Cleaners brought several customized shirts to Yee to be laundered. Upon return to pick up the laundry, it was found the shirts had been destroyed. Marty is now seeking repayment of all the shirts that was left. Yee has apologized, and intends to make reimbursement. However, the two parties maintain differing views on the value of the shirts and reasonable compensation.



The arrangement of the mediation is left up to the mediator. The mediator may caucus, hold a joint session or both. The entire exercise could run from 30-60 minutes. Observations by two or more parties can be very useful for review purposes. Videotaping participants can also enhance follow-up discussions. " A Brief Outline of the Mediation Process", is useful background reading for the mediator. "An Actual Small Claims Mediated Agreement," is useful as follow-up reading for all parties, especially if mediators have been asked to draft any agreement reached. (Hand this out after the mediators have finished their own try at drafting.)



  • This case is useful as a training tool for small claims mediators. It provides an opportunity for the mediator to determine what meeting design is most beneficial for gathering information and discovering bottom lines.
  • Participants should be able to recognize creative options after assessing the various interests.
  • The importance of letting parties vent their anger stimulates focus on the role of emotions in mediation. What effect might this have on attaining an agreement? What role does it play in trying to rebuild a relationship?
  • Detailed review of precise language, ordering of issues, use of caucuses, and framing of issues can be enormously rewarding. Close observation and/or videotaping is invaluable, although student-student review is useful.
  • Small claims mediation skills can be thoroughly tested when the mediator attempts to deal with the anger, the differing views in value, and legitimacy.



Role Specific:

Confidential Instructions for:

  • Marty Kasenberg
  • Lou Yee Chin
  • Mediator


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the Above



BATNA; Communication; Credibility; Drafting; Emotions; Fairness; Interpersonal skills; Mediation; Meeting design; Nonverbal communication; Objective criteria; Options, generating; Partisan perceptions; Precedents; Public opinion; Reality testing; Relationship; Reservation price; Separating the people from the problem

Rosenberg v. Lincoln Landscaping
Smithfield v. Rudfurd's Home Repairs

Dirty Laundry Attributes

Time required: 1-2 hours
Number of participants: 3
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: Mediator
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes
Non-English version available: Chinese