LAW REPORT : PANTOPOD-SENIOR v. BIGOT-JOHNSON ( AND OTHERS ) 2014
Yet again another Pantopod found himself given short shrift at a SHBC disciplinary hearing having been banned for gesturing with his middle finger at one of the committee members during a heated AGM. Finally after a long drawn out litigation process , the two parties finally had their day in court. Bigot of course elected to represent himself and the others, before a very unforgiving and conservative Chancery Court judge. The following extract taken from the trial's transcript comes from the closing stages of the 3 day hearing.
Judge : Why has this dispute come to court, Bigot ? Couldn't it have been resolved by mediation , if only to enable both parties to incur minimal costs ?
B-J : We weren't interested in such an idea. The claimant is a blackguard who should have taken his punishment like a man. No bloody way were we going to allow that limb of Satan to ever enter our club house again.....not after the huge effort we put in to get rid of him. Anyway the idea of mediation was preposterous , given the fact that Pantopod and the committee were too far apart to even consider the possibility of finding any middle ground
Judge : Well , a recent precedent has been set in the Garritt-Critchley case where the judge
rejected the analysis that the two parties were too far apart for settlement to be reached. He concluded that parties do not know whether there are too far apart unless they explore a settlement in a form such as mediation. Moreover , this dispute is by its very nature eminently suitable for ADR. It lends itself to the usual risk analysis , in which each party should have engaged in, as to the likelihood of their position being favoured by the court
B-J : Hold on a minute.....why should we have opted for mediation if we firmly believed the odds of a good result were so stacked in our favour. There was no conceivable point or advantage to us in discussing settlements given the extreme confidence in our legal position
Judge : The fact that both you and the claimant could be facing crippling financial costs made it essential that mediation was entered into at the earliest possibility
B-J : But we did finally agree to take the dispute to mediation .......
Judge : But only after years of constant refusal and obstruction. Indeed , you only went along with the idea because you were ordered to by my colleague at a pre-trial review meeting
B-J : Yes....yes....but didn't that show some willing and co-operation on our part ?
Judge : No....because at that mediation meeting you made it clear right from the off that the club would not compromise its position on the issue of reinstatement....or make any offers or concessions to help offset Pantopod's costs
B-J : Oh.....
Judge : I can't help but notice that throughout this litigation process , the claimant's willingness to mediate ....and to reduce the damages he was seeking......was reiterated on numerous occasions......and on each occasion his offers were rejected on the basis that you remained extremely confident that you could defeat his claim of wrongful expulsion. However , in the previously mentioned case , the judge was keen to point out that the argument , that mediation in such circumstances as these was not worthwhile , happened to be misconceived.
B-J : But your honour ....there was too much dislike and mistrust between ourselves and Pantopod for mediation to be worthwhile.
Judge : Well, that argument too had no merit. Indeed, it is completely flawed given that it is in situations like this , where there is considerable distrust and heightened emotions , a mediator's skills would have been most useful
B-J : Oh....
Judge : And even If I was convinced by your claim that the disciplinary process carried out with fairness and absence of bias ......which I'm not..... I would be duty bound to follow precedent and impose 75% of all costs against you..... as a consequence of your refusal to mediate at the earliest opportunity, and your refusal at the eventual mediation hearing to work towards..... or accept..... a compromise settlement
B-J : Oh bugger...I believe I'm about to fill my pants
Judge : Somebody open the windows......quickly !