Runaway Jury 2003 Negotiation Type  Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

As the negotiations became aggressive, Marlee countered Fitch's aggressiveness by unilaterally raising the price, setting deadlines ('the deal should be finalized the next time I call'), and threatening to sway the verdict against Fitch.

Marlee also proved to be an adept negotiator when dealing with Rohr. She skillfully defined the value set by digging into Rohr's true motivation, and then appealed to his sense of greater achievement by offering him a scenario of 'Greater gun control'. She, however, underestimates Rohr's sense of righteousness, as he refuses to go through with the deal, based on his conscience. The difference between the Marlee-Fitch negotiation and the Marlee-Rohr negotiation is starkly evident, as the former is conducted in an aggressive environment with plenty of hidden motives, withholding of information, and threats, while the former, despite the initial threat of mistrial by Rohr, is conducted in a much more open and honest environment.

As the deal draws closer to its conclusion, Fitch becomes increasingly fidgety as his initial intention of having the pie and eating it too, is dashed by Marlee's skilful handling of the cards. Marlee understood Fitch far better than Fitch understood Marlee. Till the very end, Fitch was unable to figure out the true motive of Marlee and Easter. As it turned out, the strategy of Marlee and Easter was well thought out, and had planned for possible changes in the plot. On the other hand, Fitch had been caught unawares as he had been expecting a negotiation where he controlled all the variables and the jurors wilted to the pressure he exerted on them through different tactics. Marlee also adroitly remained non-committal till she was given the green signal for the transfer of the money by Fitch.


The final part of this paper deals with the various shortcomings that were made by the parties in the negotiation, and avoiding which, they could have made more gains for themselves in the conversation. In most of the situations, Fitch was the guilty party. Fitch made many errors in the negotiation process. He was overconfident of his negotiation prowess and people skills. He should have been more circumspect in his dealings with Marlee once her sway over the jury had been established. Secondly, he also overestimated the ability of his database and systems, which were unable to alert him to the dangers that Marlee (Gabrielle Brandt) and Easter (Jeffrey Kerr) posed. Fitch should have pulled alternate strings to reinforce and verify the information offered to him by his personal database. The cardinal sin that Fitch made in the negotiation process was that he committed and transferred the whole amount of money before he had gotten any sort of result. This not only resulted in him being swindled of his fortune, but also provided the other party with proof (the money transfer documents) that could easily have been used against him to wreck not only his career, but also his life. Fitch should have been more circumspect with this commitment, and should have delayed the transfer of money till the verdict was delivered. Also, he allowed Marlee to successfully exploit him through her deadlines, threats and money demands. The only way he reacted to these negotiating maneuvers was to instruct henchmen and quash resistance. A problem that hindered Fitch throughout the negotiation process was that he was blinded by the lust for power and success. He wanted success at all costs, even if that meant killing, blackmailing or spying.

Marlee and Easter were the most driven of negotiators. They were driven not by money (as they had led Fitch into believing), but by vengeance. Marlee handled the negotiation with Fitch very skillfully, but perhaps the only error she made was to underestimate the depth to which Fitch could fall to get his objectives fulfilled. This prescience could have prevented the ransacking and assassination attempt. She also was unable to conceal the refusal of Rohr from Fitch, which provided Fitch with a window of opportunity to get out of the hole.

As far as her negotiation with Rohr was concerned, Fitch was skilful enough to strike a chord with him, and almost succeeded in luring an honest and moral lawyer into an illegal act by directly addressing his driving force (law change), but she made the error of underestimating the strength of his morals. She should have probed more deeply into the repercussions of his success and could have offered him even more incentive for success by touching his emotional chords. Rohr turned out to be a very sensible negotiator too, as he was driven by righteousness, and any attempts to deviate him from his ideology failed. In fact, while driving home his point during his final negotiation with Marlee, he contributed to Marlee's change of heart and touched her with the strength of his morals. Thus, in the end, along with Marlee and Easter, Rohr succeeded to win his share of the pie.


Runaway Jury, the Movie

Burgess, Heidi, 2004, 'Negotiation Strategies', Knowledge Base Essay

Spangler, Brad, 2003, 'Integrative or Interest-based Bargaining', Knowledge Base Essay

Cindy, Fazzi, 2003, 'Negotiation Theory and Application: The Next Generation', Dispute Resolution Journal

Runaway Jury Script, Script-O-Rama

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