Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mediation Alternative Dispute Resolution

April 13, 2010 by Jim W Hildreth Mediator

The Bay Area Buyer finds a home via the marketing of an auction house that is marketing
out of state real estate. He can't believe that he has found a home under $15,000 and he transfers
$3,000 dollars to the sellers bank account as a deposit..

He soon discovers that the property has back taxes and the escrow company chosen by
the seller will not issue title insurance.

He cancels the escrow, however the seller will not return his deposit.

A retired couple makes the decision to downsize, they are on acreage and the acreage
supports vintage California Oaks.

The Oaks require ongoing removal of mistletoe that cost $2,000 a day from a tree service.

The sellers place the home with a real estate brokerage, the property sells and the buyer after close of escrow discovers the true cost to maintain the tree's. The buyer makes threat towards litigation due to non-disclosure.

A San Jose couple have retired and their dream is to own acreage and live the country life.

They move to the foothills and the zoning allows another home to be built. They invite their
daughter and son-in-law.

Half the acreage looks like a park, the other side looks like a scene from the Beverly Hill-bellies.

The daughter and son in-law announce a separation and the property is upside down in value
by $150,000.

Each of these disputes, involved the legal community for advise and direction and all parties
were faced with decisions that both involved stress, financial hardship and options for a law suit.

The neighbor wont allow access for ingress and egress, boulders are placed at one of the entries,
one of the neighbors receives physical threats, the attorney's work on the dispute for over six months and the dispute is going to trial.

The court suggest mediation and one of the attorney's has strong feelings against alternative dispute resolution. The attorney's follow the court's direction and a neutral mediator is selected and the parties meet without their counsel.

The neighbor's come to mediation angry they leave 3 hour's latter with a written settlement.

The wife cries out “We can be neighbor's again”

The attorney's on both side's are shocked and the court is relieved.

Non Disclosure's issues, easements, septic s, wells, water intrusion, partnership breakups
have all been common issues that have come to mediation and have been settled at mediation.

The Berkeley Victorian Home residents who called Berkeley home for 30 years
disclose seepage in the basement in heavy rains. The new buyers discover up to 8” of water for the past 2-years. The remedy of a new French Drain is expensive. The buyers are ready to sue the sellers.

California Real Estate Contracts California Association of Realtors call out for
mediation in a disputes between buyer/seller.

Today the courts are suggesting mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution has played a major role
in reaching settlements.

In Alameda County Superior Court, local judges have referred over 2,000 cases in the past year to some form of ADR and approximately 700 cases to Panel Mediators.

The Mother Lode community of Jackson Amador County Superior Court has a active ADR Panel with equally positive results in the past year.

Mediation does work if the parties are willing to communicate and make compromises. Each of the
above disputes went the Mediation Route with success.

The Alameda County Bar Association has been active in the ADR Section and as one local
law student who just joined as a member, and stated the educational monthly updates are the “Crown Jewell” of continuing education.

The ACBA Executive Committee of the ADR offers each of us mediators the chance to grow
and meet with fellow members who have a passion for resolving conflict with alternatives vs litigation
that can be costly and time consuming.

Mediation is worthy of consideration the next time you face a new client
opening the gateway to Mediation as an Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Jim W Hildreth Mediator
Real Estate Mediation Services
(510) 647-3600