How to Negotiate, Resolve Beef with Neighbor

Notes on Negotiations
By Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

Twenty years ago, when I was asked to teach negotiation at the Arizona State University College of Law, my predecessor suggested my students negotiate an exercise involving a neighbor who consistently blared loud music at night.

It sounds like an easy negotiation – just ask them to stop, right? Or suggest they put on headphones. But what if they refuse? What if they love loud music reverberating around their house after a hard days’s work?

Neighbor disputes can actually be quite complex and challenging.

What should you do? Here are some suggestions, which can also be helpful in other situations involving diverse parties who must constantly see each other.

1 – Find the right time and place to talk

The environment in which you communicate is critical. Find a time and place when you all can relax and talk without many distractions or deadlines. And don’t do this by e-mail or text. Talk in person, as its’s harder to say no in person than by phone or e-mail or text. Talking in person will also lessen the likelihood of miscommunications.

Also don’t do it when you’re angry and might say something you will regret later.

So if you know your neighbor likes to socially drink and you do too, bring over some beer or wine and see if they have time for a drink and to talk. Perhaps invite them over for coffee if they don’t drink.

2 -Start with small talk and rapport building

Don’t discount the small talk rapport-building phase of this conversation, especially in situations like these. Set the right tone and atmosphere. Explore some common interests. Perhaps you both have kids or like a certain sport.

One of our neighbors used to live in Wisconsin – where my wife grew up and where I went to college – and they went to college in Indiana where my wife went to law school. Their son is also our son’s age with similar sports interests. Lots of common interests.

3 -Share how you feel and your interests

In a matter of fact way, let your neighbor know you have significant concerns about the loud music they have been playing. Share with them how it makes you feel. Tell them that you’ve always had an interest in the quiet nature of your home and in feeling at peace there. Express that their loud music has added stress in your life and is causing you to lose sleep, etc.

Use words like “I am sure you understand how I feel” and that “I suspect you might feel the same way if you were in my shoes.” Be empathetic.

4 -Acknowledge the legitimacy of their interests

Find out and acknowledge their interests, too. They probably have a privacy interest in listening to their own type of music in their own home. They likely also have an interest in being a good neighbor and not causing others’ problems. Maybe the high volume decreases their stress.

Listen carefully and deeply and make sure this is a two-way conversation. You don’t need to agree with their interests – but you should acknowledge and appreciate the legitimacy of them.

5 -Explore creative options that satisfy your mutual interests

Ask your neighbor to suggest how the two of you can satisfy your mutual interests. Perhaps they will suggest headphones or earphones. Or perhaps you could work out a schedule so they only play loud music when you are at work or stop it at a certain time.

6 -Avoid name-calling, blaming, threatening, and/or being adversarial

Doing any of these would likely lead to escalation and tit-for-tat – and not be in either neighbor’s interests. You may be neighbors for a long time.

Latz’s Lesson: Picking the right time, place and atmosphere – and discussing options satisfying your mutual interests – will lead to good neighbors


Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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Trial Court Abused its Discretion Not Including Annuity Payments

Case: Tina Carmer v. Scott Carmer
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

HELD: Trial court abused its discretion when it declined to include annuity payments that Father receives as part of a structured settlement as his income for child support calculation purposes.

Father and Mother married in 1994 and had three children together. Six years before the marriage, Father was seriously injured in an automobile accident. Father’s structured settlement provided for monthly annuity payments and periodic lump sum payments. Despite his injuries, Father is now able to work as a Wal-Mart greeter earning $450 per week. However, the monthly annuity payment is the bulk of Father’s monthly income.

After a final hearing on the dissolution of the parties’ marriage, the trial court concluded that Father’s annuity payments were not “income” for child support purposes. The trial court had relied, in part, on the annuity payments not being “income” for Internal Revenue Code purposes in reaching its conclusion. Mother appealed.

The majority, in a divided panel of the Court of Appeals, noted that “income” has a broader definition under the Indiana Child Support Guidelines than the tax code. The Court also noted that Father’s receipt of the annuity payments went to the standard of living the children would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved. The Court reversed, remanding the matter for recalculation of child support that either includes the annuity payments, or makes findings in support of a downward deviation for excluding them.

Judge Robb concurred only in result. She concluded this case was complicated by the fact that Father does work and earns income, and that no findings were made as to what part of the structured settlement represents lost income versus medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.  She would have preferred an innovative approach that did not necessarily establish a bright line rule that 100% of the annuity payment had to be included as income for child support purposes.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: Tina Carmer v. Scott Carmer



James A. Reed and Michael R. Kohlhaas of Bingham Greenebaum Doll represent clients in a wide spectrum of relationship transition and wealth planning matters, including premarital agreements, estate planning, cohabitation, separation, divorce (especially involving high net worth individuals and/or complex asset issues), custody, parenting arrangements, adoption, and domestic partnerships. Bingham Greenebaum Doll, a multidisciplinary law firm serving regional, national, and international clients, is the fourth-largest law firm in Indiana. The firm’s main practices include corporate, property, litigation, labor, government law, and personal services law. Visit the firm’s website at

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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Copyright Office Publishes DMCA Exemption Rule

By: Paul B. Overhauser Publisher: Indiana Intellectual Property Law News

The U.S. Copyright Office, a part of the Library of Congress, issued a final rule adopting exemptions to the provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) that prohibits circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works.

The DMCA was enacted in 1998 to implement various elements of copyright-related World Intellectual Property Organization treaties. Included in the DMCA was a prohibition against circumventing technological measures employed by or on behalf of copyright owners to protect access to their works. The DMCA also provided for exemptions to this prohibition, which are issued by the Librarian of Congress following a rulemaking proceeding. In the course of this proceeding, the Librarian determines which “noninfringing uses by persons who are users of a copyrighted work are, or are likely to be, adversely affected by the prohibition against circumvention in the succeeding three-year period” and, through the final rule, exempts that class from the prohibition for that three-year period.

Under the DMCA, this final rule must consider “(i) the availability for use of copyrighted works; (ii) the availability for use of works for nonprofit archival, preservation, and educational purposes; (iii) the impact that the prohibition on the circumvention of technological measures applied to copyrighted works has on criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research; (iv) the effect of circumvention of technological measures on the market for or value of copyrighted works; and (v) such other factors as the Librarian considers appropriate.”

The final rule became effective October 28, 2015.

Practice Tip: The prohibition against accessing protected copyrighted works, even when that access is noninfringing, has been criticized for having unintended consequences, such as facilitating the concealment by Volkswagen of the pollution that some of its vehicles produce.


By: Paul B. Overhauser, Publisher, Indiana Intellectual Property Law News

Overhauser Law Offices, LLC provides intellectual property services including patents, trademarks, copyrights and infringement litigation. Whether you’re an entrepreneur launching your first invention or a corporation looking for a litigation specialist, we have the legal experience to meet your goals.

To learn more about how Overhauser Law Offices can help you, browse our website to meet our lawyers and peruse our practice areas.  Then contact us, and we’ll put our expert team to work for you.

© 2015

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Intellectual Property Blog0 Comments

Negotiation Blog: How to Avoid Price Talk

Notes on Negotiations
By Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute

I recently reached a dead-end in a negotiation largely involving one major price issue. I didn’t want to come down – and my counterpart wouldn’t go up. And I knew he had reached his end point, because he had already gone back to his boss twice for more, and we had a longtime friendship so I know he wouldn’t lie to me.

How did we resolve this? We brainstormed options that could satisfy our mutual interests and found some non-monetary items that had value to me and didn’t cost him much. In fact, their value to me was worth much more than the price difference involved.

Here are four common non-monetary items you might consider in similar situations.

Get Contacts or References
Sales guru Harvey Mackay, author of the bestseller “Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive,” often writes about the powerful value of a strong sales pipeline. He has also suggested that our counterparts can usually add to our pipeline at virtually no cost to themselves.

Don’t underestimate the value of introductions to possible clients or customers. If you’re a lawyer and your client requests a discounted fee, perhaps offer them a one-time discount in return for a personal introduction to a new client or two.

Keep in mind we are almost all in some sort of sales, too. We could be selling expertise, products, services or even ourselves if we might someday want a new job.

Change Your Scope of Work
A colleague recently received a proposal to develop some software that was way out of her budget. After rejecting it, she suggested they work together to modify the scope of work involved.

By collaborating, they may very well find a solution that fits in her budget, better satisfies her needs, and provides a significant amount of work at a fair price for the developer.

Interestingly, the developer’s response to the initial rejection was to ask for her budget number. It was a smart negotiation request. After all, he could then modify the scope to fit that budget and protect his profit margin.

Importantly, my colleague did not share her budget number – thus preserving her negotiation power and ability to get more scope for less money (part of her goal).

Negotiate Cash Flow/Payment Terms
Many parties have a significant cash flow interest or interest in payment terms that should be addressed at the same time as the price negotiation.

Many years ago a large corporation hired me to do some training. While they agreed to my standard fee, they insisted on their standard agreement. In the small print of their agreement was a 2% automatic fee discount they received due to utilizing electronic funds transfer into my bank account. I didn’t realize it until after I had pretty much agreed to do the work – a mistake.

Large entities often aggressively manage their cash flow and payment terms, including these types of terms as well as pushing payments to vendors out 60 days or longer. Consider adding cash flow and payment terms as a counter if you reach impasse on a relatively small difference in price.

Timing or delivery

When I started my business I often had gaps in my schedule that ideally would be filled. And I was willing to provide fee discounts to fill in those gaps.

If you reach impasse on price, explore changing the performance time in a way that satisfies your – and their – interests.

Latz’s Lesson: Creatively explore mutual interests and options to break early price impasses and result in true win-win deals.


Marty will be Live In-Person here at the ICLEF Conference Facility, November 13. To learn more about Gain the Edge: Negotiating to Get What You WantClick Here.


Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or


ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Negotiation/Mediation Blog0 Comments

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