Construcion Litigation

Construction Litigation

Construction mediation is one of the most complex areas of law there is.
Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Experiencing an injury through no fault of your own is a scary and frustrating experience.
Commercial Disputes

Commercial Disputes

Commercial disputes are common in the business world.
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10 Commandments for Resolving Construction Disputes

Below, are the ten commandments that can help you avoid problems during construction projects and resolve those that do arise.

1.       Have Clear Contracts

The best way to avoid construction problems is to have clear contracts that set out the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Carefully read through the contracts and negotiate favorable terms in case a problem does arise.

2.       Anticipate Problems

It is common for some type of problem to arise during a construction project, whether that means that weather delays the work, materials cost more than expected, or an unexpected problem with the property arises. Be sure that you include provisions in your contract that address these potential issues.

3.       Structure Payments

Some project managers make the mistake of pre-paying for work or paying too much for the amount of work that has been completed. Funds that are advanced should not exceed the value of work that has been completed.

4.       Secure the Work

Many contractors choose to secure their work through the issuance of a mechanic’s lien. To protect your rights, you will need to carefully follow the filling deadlines and notice requirements.

5.       Formalize Contract Changes

If there are add-ons or change orders, be sure that you get these contract changes in writing. Your contract probably requires changes to be in writing, so be sure you follow this directive.

6.       Resolve Problems Early On

If problems do arise, address them early on. Letting them fester can cause the parties to solidify their positions against each other and make it more difficult to resolve the problem.

7.       Pick the Right Mediator

If you have a problem that cannot easily be resolved through direct communication or negotiation, mediation is an effective way to resolve disputes that arise during construction projects that allow the parties to maintain the contract and work together to resolve the problem. Selecting the right mediator is pivotal to the successful resolution of your case. Neil Robertson has extensive experience mediating construction and commercial matters and can help you resolve your dispute in an amicable manner.

8.       Participate in Mediation in Good Faith

Once you are at mediation, it is important that you participate in the process in good faith to get the full value of this process.

9.     Keep an Open Mind

One of the biggest benefits of mediation is the ability of the parties to create terms of an agreement that may not otherwise be available through litigation. For example, the parties may agree to modify the contract, agree to future business together or agree to use a particular subcontractor as a way to resolve the conflict. Keep an open mind and be flexible to get the most out of the mediation process.

10.     Document Your Agreement

After you successfully mediate your dispute, be sure that you get your full agreement in writing. You will walk out of mediation with a customized agreement.

How Personal Injury Mediation Works

Mediation is an effective way to resolve legal disputes that save the parties time, money and frustration. The parties are aided by a third party neutral such as Neil Robertson who is often selected for his subject matter expertise. If mediation is successful, the case can come to its end and the victim can receive a faster settlement. The typical personal injury case will involve the following steps:

1.       Selection of Mediator

One of the significant benefits of mediation is that the parties can choose their own mediator. In litigation, the parties are generally assigned a judge at random. For example, parties involved in mediation can choose someone who has experience in personal injury law like Neil Robertson, who has an extensive background in personal injury defense litigation, premises liability and products liability. A person with this background has greater authority in the practice area and can discuss the real strengths and weaknesses of the case. Once the parties agree on a mediator, the mediator schedules the mediation at an agreed upon date, time and location.

2.       Preparation for Mediation

Before the mediation session, the parties will meet with their attorneys, discuss the process and learn what to expect. The victim will compile all evidence that supports his or her version of events and extent of damages. The insurance company may review what similar cases have settled for or compile evidence to minimize the value of the claim. The mediator will also send a mediation and confidentiality agreement to the parties. It is important that the parties understand that the pr3Socess is confidential and that if they do not reach an agreement that they cannot repeat the information discussed in mediation.

The parties’ lawyers will usually attend mediation with their clients. However, the parties may meet with their lawyers to discuss strategy. The accident victim may discuss a possible settlement range. He or she should also discuss any particular needs for settlement funds, such as annual distributions or putting the money in a trust. The defendant may also want to discuss strategy with his or her lawyer, such as a potential settlement value and a point when the defendant would prefer to take the case to trial.

3.       Opening Statements

At mediation, the mediator will introduce the parties to each other. Typically, the victim will appear with his or her personal injury lawyer. The defense attorney and claims adjuster will also attend. He or she will describe the mediation process and the ground rules.

Next, each party will give an opening statement about their side of the case. The victim’s lawyer may give an estimated value of the case and the reason for this value. The defense responds with its own opening statement and why the perceived value is less. The opening statement is helpful for the mediator to understand the respective positions and for the parties to hear the perspective and evidence from the other side of the case.

4.       Caucuses

After the opening statement, it is common for the parties to split up into different rooms for the remainder of mediation or for a substantial portion of the mediation process. The mediator meets with one party at a time, identifies the party’s interests and obtains important information about the case. The mediator goes back and forth between the parties.

During these private caucuses, the mediator asks questions to learn more about the case. The parties talk confidentially with the mediator and the mediator cannot share this information with the other side unless explicitly granted permission. Therefore, the personal injury victim or insurance adjuster may reveal information about the case that may not help the party but that lets the mediator know about a possible concern or wiliness to settle. 

During these private sessions, the mediator also points out weaknesses to each party’s side of the case. The mediator will also suggest compromises. He or she will get the parties to reevaluate their positions and remind them of the risk of continuing litigation, such as an uncertain outcome, more time and greater expense. During these sessions, the parties may share evidence with the mediator, such as an expert witness report or evidence that the victim may have exaggerated injuries. This evidence will help the mediator evaluate the strength of the case and how a jury would likely react to the evidence.

5.       Offers and Counteroffers

One party will open by making an offer that he or she would accept to end the case. The mediator communicates this offer to the other party. The other party usually responds with a counteroffer. This process may continue for a while. The mediator continues asking questions and tries to get the parties to reach an amicable solution. Mediators use conflict resolution skills to get the parties to minimize points of controversy between them and reduce negative feelings.

6.       Settlement

If the parties are able to reach an agreement, the parties will sign a written agreement. This agreement will set out the terms of the settlement, including a dismissal of all claims in exchange for the settlement, the amount of the settlement, and the date or dates when the settlement funds will be disbursed. The parties’ attorneys prepare the necessary paperwork to file with the court to end the claim. The court will then dismiss the case once it has been resolved.

If the parties do not reach a settlement by the end of mediation, negotiations may still continue. The parties may come to an agreement at some point in the future. Even if the parties are not able to reach a settlement, they still gain valuable information at mediation, such as the strengths and weaknesses of their case, the evidence that will likely be introduced and how the parties will appear in front of a judge or jury. This added knowledge often helps the parties attain a more realistic outlook on their case.

If you would like to schedule personal injury mediation, contact Robertson Mediation.

Construction Mediation

Mediation can be one of the most efficient and effective tools for resolving a legal dispute. It can be especially beneficial in construction disputes.

Construction Dispute Mediator in Miami, Florida

Mediation is one of the most effective ways to resolve construction disputes. It helps you avoid the expense and frustration of a long, drawn-out trial. In fact, all judges order both parties to try to resolve their dispute through mediation before permitting a construction dispute to move to trial. Parties are not required to come to a resolution in mediation, but they are required to try to do so.

To discuss your construction dispute options with a Miami, Florida construction mediator, call 305-448-7988 for a free consultation.

Mediation works well in construction disputes for several reasons.

First, utilizes the services of a neutral third-party (the mediator) to help guide the negotiation between the disputing parties. Mediators listen to each party’s argument and then help them explore the pros and cons of various resolutions. This provides flexibility and gives those most affected by the outcome control of how the situation plays out.

Mediation also helps to protect valuable business relationships. Disputes in the construction industry can be expensive and create a great deal of damage. In most cases, it will be in everyone’s best interests to try to resolve complex construction disputes as early as possible before more damage is done.

Neil Robertson’s goal is to help protect mutually beneficial relationships and resolve construction disputes as efficiently as possible.

Common Types of Construction Disputes in Miami, Florida

Construction disputes tend to be incredibly complex. They mightinvolve many parties, including business owners, contractors, subcontractors, construction managers, architects, designers, engineers, sureties, insurers, manufacturers, suppliers, lenders, consultants, accountants, etc. All of these people have a stake in the outcome of the dispute and they will likely affect how the resolution unfolds.

In most cases, construction disputes fall into one of the following categories:

  • Project Delays: Delays threaten revenue, deadlines, and overhead. They can create lost productivity, which affect both owners and employees, contractors, and subcontractors.
  • Problems with the Quality of Work: Claims related to the quality of labor or materials arise when contractors, subcontractors, or suppliers fail to meet certain standards of quality. This might include published design standards, industry standards, or performance standards.
  • Nonpayment: Claims related to nonpayment (unpaid labor and/or materials) are one of the most common sources of problems in the construction industry. These are especially difficult to resolve without the support of a neutral third party.
  • Liens and Bonds: Lien perfection and bond claim requirements tend to be complex. Not to mention the laws governing them are unique to each state. Notice requirements are incredibly strict and filing deadlines tend to be unforgiving.

Let Neil Robertson Help

Neil Robertson is a construction mediator in Miami, Florida. His years of experience in the legal industry and working with construction clients make him a valuable resource for resolving your dispute. If you would like to schedule a time to discuss the benefits of construction mediation for your situation or you have questions, contact Neil at 305-448-7988 or email him at

Negotiating a Fair Settlement in a Personal Injury Mediation Session

In personal injury mediation, the parties may be able to resolve the case, enter into a settlement agreement and avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation. Here are two strategies that can help the parties to negotiate a fair settlement. Negotiating a Fair Settlement In personal injury mediation, the parties may be able to resolve the case, enter into a settlement agreement and avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation. Here are two strategies that can help the parties to negotiate a fair settlement.

Make Initial Agreements on the Things Not in Dispute

There may be certain aspects of the claim that the parties agree on so for example, they may agree on:

  • That the insured party is liable
  • The extent that the victim was partially liable
  • The amount of medical expenses already incurred
  • The amount of lost employment wages

By starting on the areas that the parties agree on, this can create a foundation of trust and help create momentum toward an eventual settlement. The parties may then agree on the remaining issues to be discussed and the order that they should discuss to create a reasonable sequence for discussions that will be most likely to lead to an efficient resolution of the case.

Create a Settlement Range

Establishing a low and high amount for settlement can help ease the stress of both parties by establishing a floor for the accident victim and a ceiling for the insurance company. This strategy can propel the parties toward settlement because they know they will reach a settlement and just have to hammer out the details.

Five Tips for a Successful Construction Mediation

Mediation can foster improved communication and offer a resolution that allows a project to continue and avoid costly litigation. Here are some tips that can help you make the most of construction mediation.

Be Prepared

At mediation, you may be settling your case, so it is important that you can negotiate from the strongest position. Bring any evidence that you need to mediation with you.

Have All the Necessary People Present

If the dispute involves multiple parties, such as contractors and subcontractors or lenders or insurance agents, be sure that all of the necessary people who have the authority to resolve the case are present. Otherwise, you may waste time and reach a conclusion only for this to fall apart.

Treat the Mediator as an Ally

The mediator is not a judge. The mediator is not your lawyer. Instead, the mediator is an impartial individual who tries to help the parties reach an agreeable resolution. The mediator can give you important information about your claim to help you better evaluate your position.

Be Willing to Cooperate

Mediation provides parties the opportunity to work together to reach an agreeable solution. In many construction mediation cases, the parties do want to continue the project, so it is important that you approach the problem in a cooperative manner. Be respectful during times when you are in the presence of the other party and truly consider the information the mediator shares about the benefits of concluding the case through a mediated agreement.

Consider Creative Resolutions

Parties are not limited to decisions that would be made by a judge or jury. Consider creative options such as modifying the contract, creating structured payments, entering into a new contract or asking for an extended warranty.

Preparation is a key for a successful mediation


Because Mediation is an informal process, some participants fail to do the planning and preparation necessary to take best advantage of the mediation process. It is easy when you are in a dispute or litigation to believe that ultimately all is going to be resolved by a jury or a judge at trial. The hard facts are, however, that parties rarely have their litigation resolved at trial. Only 2% of State lawsuits filed are tried and less than 1% of Federal court cases are tried. The other 99% are resolved in one fashion or another prior to trial, and most of those at mediation.

In order to take full advantage of the process and advance your own position, you have to be prepared, knowledgeable and adaptable as you can be going into the mediation process. Knowing the facts and law, your position, and that of your opponent will give you a clear advantage in negotiating. It also sends a signal to the other side that you cannot be taken lightly and your concerns or grievances must be addressed. The preparation that includes knowing your opponent’s case allows you to anticipate your opponent’s strongest argument and be ready with countervailing arguments both legal and factual.


Most mediators will ask that they be given an outline of the case by all parties prior to the mediation. You want to take advantage of this opportunity to clearly set forth why you are entitled to the relief you seek. This document should be straight forward and as factually based as possible. While the mediator is not the decision maker in the process, you want him/her to be knowledgeable of the facts so that he/she can be persuasive with the other side in presenting your arguments.

Prepare an opening statement. Again, you should reiterate the facts and law of your case, why it would be attractive to a jury, and likely have a positive result. Demonstrate the righteousness of your position. The opening statement is directed primarily towards the other side and it may be your only opportunity to speak directly to the decision makers on the other side. You want to explain both the strengths and weaknesses of yours and your opponents’ case and why in the end you believe you will prevail. Because this is a negotiation process avoid being overly confrontational or accusatory which can lead to polarization. If there is a high emotional aspect of the matter, it would be best presented early in the mediation in the hopes of getting that aspect of the matter vetted early. Each party’s emotional feelings are legitimate, but emotions frequently stand in the way of resolution.


Starting positions are meaningless. It is not where we start that matters, it is where we end that matters. Frequently, after the initial exchange of information in an open session, the parties will break into separate rooms for private consultations with the mediator. Do not be surprised if the mediator plays devil’s advocate against your case. Remember, the mediator is doing the same thing in the other room, as well. This is your opportunity to remind the mediator of what you told him in your pre-mediation letter, what came up in the opening statements that helped your case, as well as provide any additional information that you held back. Always advise your mediator at the end of the session what he can and cannot tell the other side.

During negotiations, be authentic. If you are quiet and unassuming, use that to project a steady approach to convey strength and conviction in your position. If you tend to be more flamboyant in nature, use your personality to convey certainty and conviction. If you tend to be more aggressive in your approach to matters, tone it down so as not to alienate or irritate the mediator. Listen carefully to your mediator. Remember that your mediator is hearing both sides of the issue and while the mediator may not be authorized by your opponent to reveal everything, how he/she presents information from the other side or characterizes a fact or position can give you insight into what is going on in the other room. Be prepared to respond to the weaknesses he points out in your case. The mediator who is relatively new to the matter is unlikely to have an insight that the other side is not already aware. If the mediator does bring to light a new weakness in your case and the matter does not resolve you can, through further discovery or the use of further research, strengthen that aspect of your case.

Mediation is the time where you and your opponent control the outcome of your dispute. The better prepared you are, the more knowledgeable you are of your position and that of your opponents, the greater the degree of control you will have during the process.