Jocelyn Wurzburg Mediation

5159 WHEELIS, STE 101
Phone: (901) 684-1332
Fax: (901) 684-6693

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In our country, claims of injury are not dealt with by injuring somebody back — it’s not eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. We can only compensate some one we have injured with money.  Frequently someone who injures another calls their insurance company and tells them “I’ve had a car accident and the other driver was hurt.”  The injured person calls his lawyer and tells them “I was in an accident and I was hurt.”  Then the insurance claims adjustor and the attorney begin a negotiation process to settle the claim for injury.  If the negotiations fail, the attorney sues the person who caused the accident hoping the judge and a jury will be sympathetic enough to award his client a lot of money.  This takes months, often years.  You need witnesses, expert testimony, charts, diagrams, doctors’ reports and testimony, depositions,  and so on.  The cost of going to trial is extremely high!

But there is another way!  Mediation!  At mediation, in the auto accident I spoke of, you, the injured party, and your attorney meet together with the other party and her attorney, or in most cases just the insurance adjustor, to talk about this case.  This conversation is facilitated by a trained, impartial mediator.  Your mediator will let each side tell their stories, how painful the injury was, and how long it took before you could play tennis again.  The insurance adjustor will want to know about your medical treatment and bills.  She may even ask if you had your seat belts on to learn if you contributed to the injury?

Then the mediator will meet with each party privately to assist them with a process that helps the attorney or adjuster assess the case for his client and to see if this claim can be satisfied without having to go to court.  She will begin an assisted negotiation process until both sides agree on a fair settlement.  The mediator will not, repeat, will not make a decision for the partes.  The parties themselves will make all the decisions.

This process is quicker, and far less expensive than a lengthy trial process.  It’s a good procedure for fender benders; its’ a good procedure for multi million dollar wrongful death actions or medical treatment disputes.  Mediation is a good process because it allows the parties to keep control of the decisions rather than depend on the mood of  a jury or judge.  When you make this decision, you will more likely be happier with it than taking a chance in court.

The process is absolutely confidential and if it doesn’t work, the judge cannot know why or what had been negotiated. You have nothing to lose and a lot to save. You retain all of your legal rights.

Thank you for your interest. 

I prefer the facilitative method,  facilitating  negotiations between the parties face to face  rather than exclusively shuttling back and forth between separated parties.  Clients report they feel  more involved in the decision-making process, each having had a chance to be heard.  Facilitative mediation hastens trust of the mediator; there is less wondering and worrying what’s being said in the other room.

In facilitative mediation, each client gets to tell his or her story to the other.  Options for possible resolution get listed  (I use a flip since I don’t know if the person sitting in front of me is a right brain or left brain learner), discussed, and chosen.  And yes, this process allows each disputant to observe just how each may be perceived by a judge or jury. Facilitative mediators may meet in private sessions with each side to go through a specific process that helps the attorney chart and evaluate the case for the client.                        

Transformative mediation, which uses the facilitative method, is more concerned with the process of conflict resolution than the resolution itself.  This is often contrasted with evaluative mediation that is so "resolution focused" you may see the mediator evaluating the case for each side and then telling them how they ought to settle.  There is a form of ADR called Early Neutral Evaluation that does just that.  Employing empowerment and recognition as techniques, transformative mediation hopes to transform the clients from angry, self- centered, win/lose positioned disputants to cooperative, acknowledging, now and  future focused, responsible ones.  And maybe even get to resolution. It allows a lot of leeway for the clients to frame the issues and the discussion. Transformative mediators use the facilitative style.  Thus, should the clients not resolve all issues in that mediation session, the likelihood of them being able to do so before resorting to litigation is high.  According to Professor Robert Baruch Bush of Hosta University and his co-author Joseph Folger in their book, The Promise of Mediation , the mediation process should promise something more to the client than just closing the file.

Perhaps my style is best described by Professor/attorney/mediator David Hoffman in his article  "Confessions of a Problem-Solving Mediator" in the 1999 Volume 23 Number 3 newsletter of the Society of Professional in Dispute Resolution.  He contrasted transformative mediation with problem solving and suggested we experienced mediators intuitively engage techniques that fall somewhere in between. 

Again, the trick and talent of the experienced mediator is to know what style to use -- and when.

Certification of mediation specialist is not currently available in Tennessee. Approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Alternate Dispute Commission under its Rule 31 for civil law and family law cases.

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