Mediation Roundup for August 2015
Very few cases make it to trial, which is why at Issaquah Law Group we diligently investigate and litigate claims with an eye towards effective and aggressive mediation negotiations. With the assistance of excellent mediators in Washington, we often achieve very satisfying results for our clients. In the small percentage of cases that are not resolved in mediation, we are well on our way to preparing for trial with our themes and defenses already fully fleshed out and supported.
Here are our recent settlement successes from August 2015:
Claim #1: We defended the insured in a business dispute with his former partner who brought an action for breach of a non-compete/non-disclosure agreement, tortious interference with a business expectancy, and unjust enrichment.
Defenses: We argued that the non-compete agreement was forged, which was supported by a handwriting analyst. We also argued the agreement was silent as to time and geography. In Washington, the Courts have free discretion to reform the contract to a reasonable scope. Here, it would typically be for a period of less than five years, and as narrowly construed to geography as will reasonably protect the parties’ interests. See Armstrong v. Taco Time, Int’l, 30 Wn. App. 538 (1981); Perry v. Moran, 109 Wn.2d 691 (1987). Finally, we argued that there can be no tortious interference with a business expectancy when the plaintiff cannot provide proof that but for the alleged interference they would have been able to continue their business in any meaningful way.
Mediation: Mediated dispute with Larry Levy of WAMS.
Resolution: Plaintiff’s starting demand was $1 million. We negotiated settlement for $50,000.
Claim #2: We defended a retail client against a claim for premises liability where the plaintiff alleged he sustained injury to his foot when he inadvertently stepped on a board with a nail in it. Plaintiff claimed ongoing pain and debilitation as a result of the puncture wound and lost job opportunity/lost wages due to prospective employment he was unable to accept.
Defenses: We tracked down a former friend of plaintiff’s who was with him at the time of the accident and we obtained a detailed declaration that entirely contradicted plaintiff’s version of events. We were able to establish the plaintiff had full knowledge of the condition and knowingly encountered it. Also, we tracked down witnesses with knowledge of the lost job opportunity and discovered that the business plaintiff had applied to went up for sale soon after the job interview and subsequently went out of business, so there was no lost job opportunity.
Mediation: Mediated dispute with Greg Bertram of Pacific ADR.
Resolution: Plaintiff’s starting demand was $200,000. We ended negotiated settlement for $9,000.