Today, I co-mediated a case that produced a mutually acceptable solution between the disputants in lieu of a court issued personal protection order (PPO) against the defendant.  Although the parties crafted and signed the agreement with our facilitation, the plaintiff repeatedly expressed fears for her personal safety during and after the conclusion of the session.  I thought it appropriate to spend time one on one separately with each party post session to listen further to their concerns and to continue to "sell" the merits of their solution.  More precisely, I was "re-selling/re-enforcing" the value of their mutually agreed upon points to put each party at ease.  Perhaps, I should characterize myself as a coach rather than as a salesman, but the point was that both parties should take ownership of their solution and believe that things will work out well going forward.

My session with the defendant went quickly and smoothly because she basically wanted her privacy.  She was amenable and quite charitable and empathetic toward the other party

The plaintiff, a widow living alone except for the company of her two dogs, was emotionally distraught from the outset.  She revealed to me that she was raised as a traditional Baptist from the South.  In my private discussion with her, I put on my monsignor's beret and listened to her about her faith and her religious beliefs.  I realize that this is not a typical approach but I was concerned about her well being.  As a woman of faith, once she did all that was humanly possible by following the mediation process, agreeing to discuss the points of interest with the defendant, and appearing in court to finalize the agreement, the future should be left in the hands of God.  This point made sense to her, and she appeared somewhat relieved.  Faith is a virtue which visited our mediation table to give both parties hope that might eventually lead to respect(love) for each other as neighbors.    

John Turley    

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