Proper and Skilled Negotiations Are Critically Important in Settling Legal Matters Where Possible Without the Need for a Trial
My client, SB, was one of three entities being sued for just over the principal sum of $14,000.00, plus court costs, interest, and punitive damages of $10,000.00.
Among other things, the matter involved two indemnity agreements, uncertainty as to who signed one of the two agreements, and the admissibility or inadmissibility into evidence of one or both of the agreements. Before retaining me, SB had filed a defence to the Claim that had been served on her. In the event that SB would not be able to settle the matter with the Plaintiff, I would have to prepare, serve, and file an amended defence.
Although the cause of action against SB for the full amount of the claim was weak, SB did have some legal exposure such that there were valid legal issues that would require a trial if the Plaintiff continued to pursue the matter against SB. SB instructed me to try to settle the matter in order to avoid what would be a complex and time-consuming trial with an uncertain ending.
SB instructed me to settle the matter against her for as much as $5,000.00. By negotiating with opposing counsel, I was able to settle the matter as against SB for the amount of $3,500.00 in total. She would make twenty-two monthly payments of $150.00 each and one final payment of $200.00, all without having to pay any costs or interest.
Not all matters can resolve this well, but it can happen when both sides act reasonably and responsibly with a desire to resolve matters without the need for further legal proceedings.
There is one important takeaway from this matter:
Obtain competent legal help in order to achieve the best possible outcome of your matter taking into account all of the issues that are involved including, but not limited to, the strength or weakness of the case against you, the steps that you will have to take to fully defend yourself, the costs and uncertainty involved in going to trial, your ability - or lack thereof - to handle the potential stresses of continuing on with the matter, the validity of the defence, the physical evidence in support of the defence, the relevant law, and the ability to reach a mutually acceptable settlement where it is possible to do so.