A Judge has forced a legal dispute to go to mediation instead of hearing the matter in a trial. The matter is over a natural gas and energy plant issue and involves real estate and land being optioned between two energy plants. Both sides of the dispute have been postponed and to be heard back in court later. The Judge did not want to deal with the matter, as he felt that a resolution could be made.
How did the Court become Involved?
The way the court became involved was with an appeal being filed by the Lordstown Industrial Park. The Court of Appeals was to decide whether real estate matters should be determined by court or arbitration.
Does Arbitration or Mediation Produce a Different Outcome?
Sometimes channeling through a different medium to litigation produces a different result. In this case, that is what one of the parties’ feel. The result may not be reasonable, the decision will then be made to go to litigation which will then drive up time and costs. One party wants resolution, the other does not. In their defense, mediation has been a tried option several times and has failed each time. Issues that cannot be resolved remain outstanding, and it is not just one but quite a few.
Why Would a Judge Want to Push for Mediation?
It already seems likely that the court will side with one party so you would think that one party would step up and want to resolve the matter. That is not, unfortunately, the way situations mostly play out. The situation concerned an option to purchase agreement which one party seeks to enforce. The building of an electrical plant or relinquishing rights to property, citing future conditional uses it might have is at stake here. The latter may incur a potential loss if a second plant is to be built. The court has already sided in preference to having a signed addendum that would remove restrictions, allowing for the construction of the second plant. Negotiations and settlement could have been made with certain conditions and terms being met. With sincerity, it may happen. Mediation sessions may be scheduled in the near future for that reason. Parties will then have greater control of an outcome when terms and agreements are drawn up.
How Much Will Making a Deal Cost?
The development of and stakes that are held in the project are high with a lot of tradesmen and a second plant could impact in a similar way as it did when it developed the first plant and sold it. Environmental costs have not even been calculated into any equation. In the court filings, part of the costs and recovery does wish to seek the delays incurred in the project starting, which is what they claim to drive up more costs. If that issue has no resolution, a trial by jury with damages in excess of $10 million dollars is what they will pursue. Otherwise, the total cost that we are dealing with is somewhere in the vicinity of $900 million. These amounts will add up. Add legal fees to the mix. This is just the beginning. Having all members on board also becomes a challenge, with everyone looking out for their own interests. In a new age context, too many members spoil the plant or plans.
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