Ah, Settlement (Blog 1 in a series)

Settlement.  The word itself evokes a feeling of dissatisfaction.  We certainly don’t like to think that we “settled” on a spouse or “settled” for our career choice.  When it comes to litigation, settlement often means settling for more, rather than less.

Yes, there are cases that should be tried.  If your only hope of relief is through getting a judge or jury to make a decision–an injunction, for instance–then you may have to go all the way to court.  If you need someone to specifically perform in some way (or, you are trying to prevent that from happening), you may need to go to court.  If you are fighting for the “principle of the thing,” then by all means, seek your day in court.

But if you are looking for real results, then alternative dispute resolution may be the best path.  The end result of an unsettled lawsuit is a trial.  The end result of a trial is a verdict and a judgment.  The end result of most judgments is “Plaintiff gets X dollars,” X including the possible number zero.  Mediation, arbitration, and third-party neutral evaluation allow you to put more than just money on the table.

I’ll post in the near future about how settlement is often more than just “settling” for less.

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