May 16- Small Claims Starts

Having met with Kevin about a possible internship with N2N, I was invited to come and observe the Benton County Small Claims Court mediation.  I got to the courthouse really early out of paranoia that I would otherwise be late.  I felt a little lost, not knowing where to go and then not having anything to do as I waited.  I was relieved with Mark, the mediator for the day, showed up.  He was very friendly and welcoming.  Although I can’t discuss the details of the case here, I was happy to see it play out and the parties reached agreement.  After the mediation I talked with Mark about choices he made and how they affected the outcome of the case.  We discussed neutrality and co-partiality and the difficulty of how to empower parties without working against one side or the other.  Ultimately, the parties themselves hold the power to make their own decisions and their own solutions.  That said, it is concerning to me when an unsophisticated party doesn’t seem to completely grasp the situation or the full range of options.

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