Airing Your Family’s Dirty Laundry

20 May

Last week, I saw a news story with Kobe Bryant and ‘mediation’ in the same headline. Why would a judge order Kobe to mediation? And what does that have to do with dirty laundry?

It turns out it’s a family dispute … between Kobe and his parents. The lawsuit is between Kobe and an auction house that is trying to sell about 100 items consigned by his mother.

K. BryantKobe says that his mother falsely claimed that he gave her permission to auction the items. They include his high school basketball jerseys, a Laker’s ring and two NBA All-Star rings.

Back to my question. Why would a judge order this case to mediation?

Well, just last week, I attended a presentation by Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Cherry to my professional organization, the Nevada Dispute Resolution Coalition. Justice Cherry spoke about the benefits of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

One of the brightest examples of success he cited is the Nevada Supreme Court’s Settlement Program. Amazingly, this program is for certain cases waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court. The program boasts a 52% settlement rate since it was started in 1997. This is truly an astounding statistic and is a testament to the benefits of trying mediation. Can you imagine … these parties have been at odds right up to the Supreme Court level and they still can settle? And the justices love it because it frees up a very busy court’s schedule for other cases.

Perhaps Kobe will have the same positive experience with mediation. The judge thought he should give it a try.

If I could offer Kobe any advice, it would be to listen and be open to discussing alternatives. Who knows … perhaps a settlement will result.

And if he had tried mediation before deciding to file a lawsuit, perhaps he could have saved airing his family’s dirty laundry in public.

Mediation is confidential – – the trial will continue to be in the news.


P.S. Justice Cherry was the recipient of the 2010 Mediators of Southern Nevada Peacemaker Award.

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One Response to “Airing Your Family’s Dirty Laundry”

  1. The Olive Branch Blog June 12, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    A quick footnote to this post.

    The press reported today that the lawsuits in this case have been settled. Kobe’s parents apologized in a public statement for any unintended pain they caused their son. They also apologized to the auction house for involving them. Six of the 100 items in question will be auctioned off.

    One of the advantages of mediation is that you can agree what will be made public – like the statement released through Kobe’s law firm. Everything else is confidential.

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