Ambition and Wishful Thinking



For many years I’ve mediated thousands of widely varied civil lawsuits.  No matter how diverse the subject matter, wrongful death, real estate, employment or contract, many cases have been fueled by an ambition that is often hard to distinguish from wishful thinking.  Although ambition is usually displayed by the amount of damages sought by plaintiffs and their attorneys, it also regularly appears in the attitude of defendants and their lawyers and insurance claims personnel for different reasons.

Plaintiffs ambitiously chase “justice” having never experienced the difficulty of winning a civil lawsuit.  The most ambitious litigants in this regard are usually the least...

read more..

Latest Posts in Law

Income Loss Due to Actions of Civil Authority

Roger Hillman writes about business disruption due to terrorism, peaceful public demonstrations, “Acts of God,” riots, and even ordinary road closures.

Coverage for income loss, also referred to as business interruption, is commonly found in Commercial Property and Business Owners’ policies.  This provides coverage for loss of income as a result of the insured’s suspension of operations.  The most frequent triggering event for such coverage is physical damage to the business premises necessitating a closure for repair, rebuilding, or even relocation. 

       However, a unique aspect of business interruption coverage is income loss due to actions of civil authority.  Such actions include something as minor as a road closure for repairs or as significant as an act of terrorism.  In order to invoke such coverage, the prevention or interruption of access to the insured premises, absent physical damage to the insured premises itself, must be the result of physical loss or damage to property away from the insured property as a result of an insured peril. 

Managing Risk in Litigation


Litigation is a very common American pastime.  There are more lawyers in some U.S. cities than there are in entire countries such as Japan.  However, for individuals and business enterprises litigation is always very expensive and emotionally disruptive.  Can either of these unwelcome features of a lawsuit be avoided?  No, not entirely.  In our country anyone can sue someone else more or less at will.  Litigation avoidance is a...

The Joy of a Startup Company

Who in their right mind develops a startup company in a highly competitive field and begins this task in their late 60s?  Me.  Why?  In part because I believe that with my team of talented attorney/neutrals we can do a better job of providing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services than our competitors.  Our competitors are legion and several of them have vast financial resources.  With a shoe string budget and boundless energy, we...

Employment Arbitration: A Minefield For Employer And Employee

By Gregg Bertram M.A., J.D., LL.M.

In the past twenty or more years many employers, especially large company employers, have required employees to agree to arbitration as the exclusive forum to resolve disputes.  State and federal courts have generally deferred to this preference by employers.   Complaints by employees and their attorneys that compulsory arbitration and denial of access to the courts is...

Commercial Mediation: A Different Animal?

Are there fundamentally different dynamics present when mediating a commercial dispute versus a trust and estate or negligence case?  Generally, although some commercial mediations may require intensive financial and document analysis, the emotional quotient is often every bit as high in business disputes as it is in any other kind of litigation.  However, in business controversies there are several factors that require attention.