By Steven G. Mehta

Very often, people will talk to me about the tough emotions that the plaintiff has to go through during a mediation.  At the same time the parties recognize those emotions, it is also frequent that the parties on one side will not recognize the emotions that may exist on the other side.  Take for example the context of health care mediations.  Often, plaintiffs are very emotionally connected to the case.  Perhaps it is their own personal injury or the injury of a loved one that was entrusted in the health care setting.  These emotions are real and must be addressed in the mediation setting.

But there are emotions on the other side also.  Often times a healthcare provider has a professional reputation.  He or she is worried that this case — whether right or wrong — may be a blemish on an otherwise successful career.  Other people feel that they did the best that they could under a difficult situation.  Others also feel that the blame is directed only one way — that the family failed to recognize critical issues about their loved one.

You would be surprised, but the reality is that businesses are run by people and people have emotions.  Even in a business situation, people often get emotional in mediation about the case.

It is important to understand that there are emotions in both rooms.  If you focus too much on one side’s emotions to the exclusion of the other’s, it is usually a recipe for a failed mediation.  In order to effectively resolve the case you must be aware of both side’s emotions and be willing to address the emotional concerns of both sides.