Mediators At Work: Breach of Warranty


Marjorie Corman Aaron and Dwight Golann

An unscripted, realistic demonstration of the mediation of a commercial legal dispute


Mediators at Work: Breach of Warranty? displays the mediation of a typical commercial legal dispute. The case involves a breach-of-warranty suit between two companies over damage that the defendant supplier allegedly caused to the plaintiff company's fleet of trucks by selling it defective antifreeze. The dispute is complicated by the fact that the plaintiff has filed a bad-faith settlement practice claim against the defendant's insurance carrier, as well as by the interests and emotions of the principals of the two family-owned companies.

Dwight Golann and Marjorie Corman Aaron produced the film to highlight the various obstacles facing neutrals in complicated, multi-issue cases. The participants, who are practicing litigators, did not have access to each other's confidential instructions. They were not given a script, but rather were instructed simply to negotiate as they would in an actual case. PON filmed four different iterations of the case and selected the best for this videotape. The result is some of the most realistic video of legal mediation yet filmed. In order to show as much as possible of the mediation process, the videotape does not include commentary; it contains 55 minutes of uninterrupted mediation. The mediator employs a broad and facilitative approach. In doing so, however, he must confront the narrowly evaluative strategies of the two lawyers, as well as the positional bargaining and angry emotions of the principals.

Dwight Golann is the Professor of Law at Suffolk University in Boston. His areas of academic interest are dispute resolution and consumer financial services. Golann is the author of several publications in alternative dispute resolution, including the book Mediating Legal Disputes, which was named co-winner of a national prize awarded to the best book published in the field of alternative dispute resolution.

Formerly the Executive Director of the Program on Negotiation, Marjorie Corman Aaron is a Visiting Assistant Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Practice in Negotiation and Problem Solving at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. She teaches courses in alternative dispute resolution, mediation and negotiation.

Recommended by Distinguished Teachers and Practitioners of Mediation:

"This is an invaluable addition to the mediation video literature. I used the tape with great success in classes and in mediator training; it is an excellent teaching and training tool.

"David Hoffman is a first-rate mediator. He and the editors are able to demonstrate in a relatively short-time, a great deal of what makes mediation work."

— Professor Carol Liebman, Columbia University School of Law

"Mediators at Work: Breach of Warranty? is a realistic depiction of a commercial mediation in as close to 'real time' as we are likely to see in a teaching tape. The video presents a wonderful variety of teachable issues including: the use of caucuses; reasons and rationals for offers and movement; litigation risk analysis; monetary, business and relationship issues; the respective role of parties, lawyers and the mediator in negotiation offers and the evaluation process; the place of legal merits and technical and expert evidence in informal settlement discussion; dealing with impasse; emotional issues and strategies for resolution; pacing of information sharing; and separate mediator discussions with parties (without lawyers).

"In one hour, all of these issues and more can be viewed for productive and realistic assessment of mediator choices, as well as advocate and party techniques. A useful practical teaching tool for ADR academics and CLE programs."

— Professor Carrie Menkel-Meadow, George University Law Center

Purchasers of Mediators at Work may download instructions for the role simulation on which is it based by clicking here.

Mediators At Work: Breach of Warranty Attributes

Time Required: 30 minutes - 1 hour
Teaching notes available: No,
Run Time: 55 minutes
Produced by: