The Negotiation

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Last Updated on February 20, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1323

Schlichtmann’s team gets to work on their next move. Everyone is present except Nesson, who is on an extended vacation with his family. Schlichtmann’s firm knows taking phase two to trial would be a “roll of the dice.” The jury was divided on the phase one evidence, and it’s quite likely the judge will dismiss three of the leukemia cases based on the jury’s 1973 date. The firm also doesn’t have any money to spare. They know they have to settle the case, but they have to make it seem as though they are planning to go to trial so as to not alert Grace’s legal team.

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Schlichtmann goes to Foley, Hoag & Eliot to see Keating. Keating arranges for a Grace executive to fly up and talk about a settlement. Schlichtmann and crew decide the case is still worth twenty-five million dollars, so they plan on asking for thirty-five million, leaving room to negotiate. But Conway wants to continue strategizing. He wants to know when the firm will walk away from the negotiation table and head to trial, but this suggestion unnerves the group. Most of the group offers up numbers between ten and fifteen million, but Schlichtmann isn’t budging. He says he will walk from any offer less than twenty-five million.

The firm picks the Lafayette Hotel for their negotiation space, a place that has “old-world elegance” and a new account with no record of debt. Albert Eustis, Grace executive vice president and counsel, arrives ready to hear the bottom line. Eustis likes the firm’s idea of donating some of the winnings to research and is willing to work with the numbers provided. He tells the men he must bring the figures to the Grace board, which will meet the following week, but something isn’t sitting right with Schlichtmann. Eustis makes plans for Schlichtmann to come down to New York the day after the board meeting.

The following week, Schlichtmann and his partners head to New York. They go to the Grace headquarters, but the negotiations don’t go well. Grace is quite hostile in their negotiation tactics and gives the firm a “take it or leave” it number at $6.6 million.

Schlichtmann and his associates discuss the ethical responsibilities of telling the families about the settlement, the imminent September 5th meeting date, and the possibility of getting ten million dollars out of Grace. The group aims to convince Schlichtmann to end this case, but Schlichtmann isn’t ready to let go.

At the airport, Schlichtmann runs into Keating and asks him to meet with him in Boston so they can “keep talking,” but legally, Keating has to talk to Eustis first. He tells Schlichtmann he’ll call him Monday. Once they part, Keating calls Eustis and tells him it seems like Schlichtmann is desperate to settle.

On Monday, Keating tells Schlichtmann the company doesn’t want to look guilty, nor do they want to open the door for other personal-injury lawyers to wreak havoc in Woburn. Schlichtmann discusses the possibility of a package that would get Schlichtmann the money he needs and also ensure no other settlements would come out of Woburn.

The firm comes up with a plan. They will have Keating file a motion to vacate the verdict on the grounds that Grace isn’t liable based on evidence. Schlichtmann would agree based on the settlement. He could even talk the families into telling the press that Beatrice and other Woburn companies were responsible for contamination. The goal is a settlement of twelve million dollars.

Gordon accompanies Schlichtmann to New York for another meeting with Eustis, but Schlichtmann and Eustis meet alone. They have barely touched upon the settlement when a handwritten note is brought to Eustis. Schlichtmann believes someone from the company, maybe J. Peter Grace himself, is listening in. Eustis reads the note and asks Schlichtmann to accompany him to...

(The entire section contains 1323 words.)

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