Condo Media - May 2018 - 27

litigation itself resolves most disputes,
which is why, he says, conflicts rarely
end up in court.
"They involve letters, and threats,
and meetings in which the board and
owners work it out. It's mediation without a mediator."
Shapiro agrees with Brooks, that
mediation has the desirable effect, for
owners, of evening out a power balance
that favors associations. "You have a
10,000-pound gorilla in one corner
(the association) and a mosquito (the
owner) in another. But it's not my job
as association counsel to set up a level
playing field. My job is to make sure the
statute and the condominium documents are honored."
TOO MUCH DISCLOSURE
The mediation process itself can weaken an association's position, Shapiro believes, because it requires a discussion
that is open, honest, and transparent on
both sides. "As a litigator, that means

I have to put all my cards on the table,
and that's what I dislike most about it.
If the mediation fails, everyone has seen
my cards. They know what I'm going to
do in court."
Procedural concerns aside, mediation
simply doesn't make sense for most condominium disputes, Shapiro contends.
"You can't mediate a collection dispute,"
she says. "The law says owners must pay
their fees. There is nothing to mediate."
And that is true, she suggests, of most
rules enforcement disputes.
"In an automobile accident damages case, there's a high and a low point
between which the parties can mediate,"
she explains. "But if an owner is allowing
a dog to relieve itself in common areas,
what's the middle ground? The dog
can only poop there three days a week?
There is no wiggle room," she says, and
no reason for an association to mediate
the dispute.
Mediation advocates suggest that even
where there is "no wiggle room," where

only one outcome (enforcement of the
rule) is possible, mediation can lower the
emotional temperatures that can rise on
both sides in a condominium dispute.
The owner, who feels attacked by an
overbearing board, digs in her heels and
insists that the board can't tell her or her
dog what to do or where to go; the board
pushes back, insisting, "Enforce the rule
or start paying the fines."
But if instead of squaring off over
dueling memos and complaints, the
board and the owner meet in a controlled
environment moderated by a neutral
mediator, the owner, who might have
been moved to pursue a senseless, but
expensive, lawsuit, gets what she really
wants-an opportunity to express her
frustration and her love for her dog; and
the board, by listening, comes across as
more sympathetic and less autocratic.
The rule is enforced, but without litigation and without the lingering bitterness
that would color future interactions
between this owner and the board.

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4/3/18 4:03 PM

May 2018

27



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - May 2018

Contents
Condo Media - May 2018 - Cover1
Condo Media - May 2018 - Cover2
Condo Media - May 2018 - Contents
Condo Media - May 2018 - 2
Condo Media - May 2018 - 3
Condo Media - May 2018 - 4
Condo Media - May 2018 - 5
Condo Media - May 2018 - 6
Condo Media - May 2018 - 7
Condo Media - May 2018 - 8
Condo Media - May 2018 - 9
Condo Media - May 2018 - 10
Condo Media - May 2018 - 11
Condo Media - May 2018 - 12
Condo Media - May 2018 - 13
Condo Media - May 2018 - 14
Condo Media - May 2018 - 15
Condo Media - May 2018 - 16
Condo Media - May 2018 - 17
Condo Media - May 2018 - 18
Condo Media - May 2018 - 19
Condo Media - May 2018 - 20
Condo Media - May 2018 - 21
Condo Media - May 2018 - 22
Condo Media - May 2018 - 23
Condo Media - May 2018 - 24
Condo Media - May 2018 - 25
Condo Media - May 2018 - 26
Condo Media - May 2018 - 27
Condo Media - May 2018 - 28
Condo Media - May 2018 - 29
Condo Media - May 2018 - 30
Condo Media - May 2018 - 31
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Condo Media - May 2018 - 33
Condo Media - May 2018 - 34
Condo Media - May 2018 - 35
Condo Media - May 2018 - 36
Condo Media - May 2018 - 37
Condo Media - May 2018 - 38
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Condo Media - May 2018 - 40
Condo Media - May 2018 - 41
Condo Media - May 2018 - 42
Condo Media - May 2018 - 43
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Condo Media - May 2018 - 50
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Condo Media - May 2018 - 62
Condo Media - May 2018 - 63
Condo Media - May 2018 - 64
Condo Media - May 2018 - Cover3
Condo Media - May 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/mcneill/condomedia_201910
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/mcneill/condomedia_201301
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