Business and Commercial Role-Play:

Smithfield v. Rudfurd’s Home Repairs


Pat Aaron

Three-person small claims mediation between a homeowner and repair company regarding unfinished roof repair


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.


Rudfurd's Home Repairs was contacted by John Smithfield to perform an estimate on porch repairs. Upon the arrival of the company workers, it was determined that a hole would have to be placed in the top of the ceiling of the porch in order to assess the extent of the wood rot. The Smithfields had no problem with this, as long as the hole could be repaired. A communication breakdown occurred between the Smithfields and Rudfurd surrounding the repair of the hole and Mr. Smithfield has filed a claim in small claims court.



This mediation exercise takes about 10-15 minutes for reading and preparation. It is a one-on-one simulation and takes approximately 20-45 minutes for the actual mediation. Videotaping can be helpful for self-evaluation and group review. "A Brief Outline of the Mediation Process," in Other Materials, is useful as background reading for the mediator. "An Actual Small Claims Mediated Agreement," is useful as follow-up reading, 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 teaching tool for small claims mediators. Mediators can test their skills in dealing with parties who feel that court is a waste of time and the procedural process invalidates the notion of fairness.
  • Participants should be able to generate creative options after assessing the interests of the participants involved. It is appropriate to use objective criteria and to also consider Smithfield's BATNA.
  • In considering the meeting design, the mediator can should assess the value of caucuses, as well as test his or her skill in making the parties view and understand the other party's interests.



Role Specific:

Confidential Information for:

  • Smithfield
  • Rudfurd
  • Basic Fact Sheet for Mediator


Teacher's Package:

  • All of the above



Anchoring; Assumptions; Commitment; Communication; Credibility; Drafting; Fairness; Information exchange; Interpersonal skills; Legitimacy; Mediation; Meeting design; Message analyst; Misrepresentation; Nonverbal communication; Objective criteria; Options, generating; Personality; Reality testing

Smithfield v. Rudfurd's Home Repairs Attributes

Time required: 30 minutes - 1 hour
Number of participants: 3
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: Mediator
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: No