Mediators At Work: Breach of Warranty


Marjorie Corman Aaron and Dwight Golann

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


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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:
Run Time:
55 minutes
Teaching notes available:
Produced by:

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.