Then I requested the church representatives and their attorneys to go into the jury room and consider and respond to those suggestions. When they emerged in about another hour, not only did they agree to each of the 10 suggestions, they actually added an additional one of their own.
At that point, I suggested a dollar figure to settle the case that was quite a bit less than plaintiff had requested, but more than the church had said it was willing to pay. Soon each side agreed to that number, and the case was settled. This approach enlisted each side to help address the fundamental problem, and helped to give them a vested interest in being a part of its resolution. The plaintiff realized that he could never institute these changes by going to trial, only by settling the case. And the church recognized that it could turn an enormously negative situation into something more positive. In addition, each side also received the gratification of knowing that this positive result was facilitated by their own suggestions.