Skip to main content

“Think Your Blackest Thoughts and Darken Them:” Judicial Mediation of Large Money Damage Disputes

Abstract

This paper considers a much neglected, but distinctive and increasingly prevalent kind of mediation work: the mediation of large money damage cases by acting and former judges. The research finds that judicial mediation is a law-infused procedure different from forms of mediation in which the stuff of law and lawyers' work is only marginally relevant, if at all. The study details how judge-mediators draw on their knowledge of the law, technically and as a matter of professional practice, to make legally persuasive arguments that critically evaluate each side's case and what is likely to occur at future points, adversely altering the litigants' understanding of the risks and costs of failing to settle and thus facilitating dispute resolution. The study was developed and pursued as an ethnographic and ethnomethodological study of work.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Atkinson, J. Maxwell. (1992). Displaying Neutrality: Formal Aspects of Informal Court Proceedings. In P. Drew and J. Heritage (Eds.), Talk at Work, pp. 199–211. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Book of Approved Jury Instructions (BAJI), California Jury Instructions, Civil (6th Edition). (1977). St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing.

  • Burns, Stacy. (1996). Lawyers' Work in the Menendez Brothers' Murder Trial. Issues in Applied Linguistics 7(1): 19–32.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burns, Stacy. (1998). The Name of the Game is Movement: Concession-Seeking in Judicial Mediation of Large Money Damage Cases. Mediation Quarterly 15: 359–367.

    Google Scholar 

  • Burns, Stacy. (2000). Making Settlement Work: An Examination of the Work of Judicial Mediators. Aldershot, U.K.: Dartmouth/Ashgate.

    Google Scholar 

  • Calabresi, Guido. (1969). The Cost of Accidents. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Calabresi, Guido and Bobbitt, P. (1978). Tragic Choices. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • California Code of Civil Procedure, sections 269 and 274c.

  • California Judges' Benchbook, Civil Trials. (1981). Foundation for Judicial Education. California Labor Code, section 2922.

  • Clayman, Steven. (1992). Footing in the Achievement of Neutrality: The Case of News Interview Discourse. In P. Drew and J. Heritage (Eds.), Talk at Work, pp. 163–198. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cover, Robert and Fiss, Owen. (Eds.). (1979). The Structure of Procedure. New York: The Foundation Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Deutsch, J. (1978). Law as Metaphor: A Structural Analysis of Legal Process. Georgetown L.J.66: 1339.

    Google Scholar 

  • Drew, Paul and Heritage, John. (Eds.). (1992). Talk at Work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Emerson, Robert. (1969). Judging Delinquents: Context and Process in Juvenile Court. Chicago: Aldine.

    Google Scholar 

  • Emerson, Robert. (1983). Contemporary Field Research. Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Emerson, Robert, Fretz, R. and Shaw, L. (1995). Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Folger, J.P. and Jones, T. (Eds.). (1994). New Directions in Mediation, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garcia, Angela. (1991). Dispute Resolution Without Disputing: How the Interactional Organization of Mediation Hearings Minimizes Argumentative Talk. American Sociological Review 56: 818–835.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garcia, Angela. (1997). Interactional Constraints on Proposal Generation in Mediation Hearings: A Preliminary Investigation. Discourse and Society 8(2): 219–249.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garfinkel, Harold. (1967). Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garfinkel, Harold. (1988). Evidence for Locally Produced, Naturally Accountable Phenomena of Order, etc.: An Announcement of Studies. Sociological Theory 6: 103–109.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garfinkel, Harold. (1996). Ethnomethodology's Program. Social Psychology Quarterly 59(1): 5–21.

    Google Scholar 

  • Garfinkel, Harold and Sacks, Harvey. 1970. On Formal Structures of Practical Actions. In J.C. McKinney and E.A. Tiryakian (Eds.), Theoretical Sociology, pp. 338–366. New York: Appleton Century Crofts.

    Google Scholar 

  • Greatbatch, David and Dingwall, R. (1989). Selective Facilitation: Some Preliminary Observations in a Strategy Used by Divorce Mediators. Law and Society Rev 23: 613–641.

    Google Scholar 

  • Greatbatch, David and Dingwall, R. (1994). The Interactive Construction of Interventions by Divorce Mediators. In J.P. Folger and T. Jones (Eds.), New Directions in Mediation, pp. 84–109.

  • Greatbatch, David and Dingwall, R. (1997). Argumentative Talk in Divorce Mediation Sessions. American Sociological Review 62: 151–170.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heritage, John. (1985). Analyzing News Interviews: Aspects of the Production of Talk for an 'Overhearing' Audience. In T. van Dijk (Ed.), Handbook of Discourse Analysis, vol. III, pp. 95–119. London: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kandel, Randy. (1994). Power Plays: A Sociolinguistic Study of Inequality in Child Custody Mediation and a Hearsay Analog Solution. Ariz. L. Rev 36: 879.

    Google Scholar 

  • Livingston, Eric. (1986). The Ethnomethodological Foundations of Mathematics. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Llewellyn, Karl. (1930). The Bramble Bush. New York: Oceana Publishers, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Llewellyn, Karl. (1960). The Common Law Tradition: Deciding Appeals. Boston: Little Brown and Company.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lynch, Michael. (1985). Art and Artifact in Laboratory Science. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lynch, Michael. (1992). Closure and Disclosure in Pre-Trial Argument. Human Studies 5(40): 15–33.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lynch, Michael. (1993). Scientific Practice and Ordinary Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lynch, Michael. (1997). Preliminary Notes on Judges' Work: The Judge as a Constituent of Courtroom 'Hearings.' In Travers and Manzo (Eds.), Law in Action: Ethnomethodological and Conversational Analytic Approaches to Law, pp. 99–130. Aldershot, U.K.: Dartmouth/ Ashgate Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Macbeth, Douglas. (1996). The Discovery of Situated Worlds: Analytic Commitments, or Moral Orders? Human Studies 19: 267–287.

    Google Scholar 

  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. (1962). The Phenomenology of Perception. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moerman, Michael. (1973). The Use of Precedent in Natural Conversation: A Study in Legal Reasoning. Semiotica 9: 193–218.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moerman, Michael. (1988). Talking Culture. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pollner, Melvin. (1974). Mundane Reasoning. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 4: 35–54.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pollner, Melvin. (1979). Explicative Transactions: Making and Managing Meaning in Traffic Court. In G. Psathas (Ed.), Everyday Language. New York: Irvington.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rifkin, Janet, Millen, J. and Cobb, S. (1991). Toward a New Discourse for Mediation: A Critique of Neutrality. Mediation Quarterly 9: 151–164.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sacks, Harvey. (1972). On the Analyzability of Stories by Children. In J. Gumpertz and D. Hymes (Eds.), Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sacks, Harvey. (1979). Hotrodder: A Revolutionary Category. In G. Psathas (Ed.), Everyday Language. New York Irvington Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sacks, Harvey. (1984). Notes on Methodology. In J.M. Atkinson and J. Heritage (Eds.), Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversational Analysis, pp. 21–27. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sacks, Harvey. (1988). On Members' Measurement Systems. Research on Language and Social Interaction 22: 45–60.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sacks, Harvey. (1992). In G. Jefferson (Ed.), Lectures on Conversation, (1964–1972), 2 vols. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shapiro, M. (1979). Toward a Theory of Stare Decisis. In Fiss and Cover (Eds.), The Structure of Procedure, pp. 380–387. New York: Foundation Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sudnow, David. (1965). Normal Crimes: Sociological Features of the Penal Code. Social Problems 12: 255–276.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sudnow, David. (1978). Ways of the Hand. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Travers, Max. (1997). The Reality of Law: Work and Talk in a Firm of Criminal Lawyers. Aldershot,U.K.: Dartmouth/Ashgate Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Travers, Max and Manzo, John. (Eds.). (1997). Law in Action: Ethnomethodological and Conversational Analytic Approaches to Law. Aldershot, U.K.: Dartmouth/Ashgate Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Watson, D.R. (1997). The Presentation of Victim and Motive in Discourse: The Case of Police Interrogations and Interviews. In M. Travers and J. Manzo (Eds.), Law in Action: Ethnomethodological and Conversational Analytic Approaches to Law, pp. 77–97. Aldershot, U.K.: Dartmouth/Ashgate Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Burns, S. “Think Your Blackest Thoughts and Darken Them:” Judicial Mediation of Large Money Damage Disputes. Human Studies 24, 227–249 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017563922116

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1017563922116

Keywords

  • Political Philosophy
  • Professional Practice
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Modern Philosophy
  • Damage Case