Articles Posted in Negotiations

On Dec. 17, 2007, Rico Industries entered into an agreement with TLC Group Inc., in which TLC would serve as Rico’s exclusive sales representative to Wal-Mart.

Rico, an Illinois corporation that specializes in production of novelty and sports-affiliated merchandise, entered into the agreement, specifying that any change, cancellation or termination of the agreement must be mutually agreed by both TLC and Rico in writing.

Rico claimed that it was not represented by an attorney during the negotiations and drafting of the contract.  Further, Rico claimed that in the drafting of the contract, the entire length of which was under one page,  there were no other conditions in which the contract could be terminated.

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The mediation of cases involves opposing positions. A mediation session begins with a brief opening statement by the mediator laying out for the parties and lawyers that the process that is about to take place will remain confidential.  The mediator in most settings will mention a few exceptions and explain confidentiality when the parties and their representatives meet in caucus, which is with the mediator in private. 

Before the mediation session begins, attorneys would be wise to inform their clients exactly what the process is all about and the distinctions between the terms — confidentiality and privilege. 

At the outset, and well before the day of mediation, the parties would be asked to review and sign the mediation agreement. Most mediation agreements contain language of confidentiality and references to privilege in outlining the mediation process.

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