The following Article is taken from that portion of Merhige's biography that addresses the Westinghouse uranium case of the 1970s, perhaps the first of the major "complex cases" to attract national attention. This case study provides an opportunity to examine a judicial decision making process involving four years of litigation, international discovery proceedings, judicial administrative guidelines, diverse national precepts of economics and politics, the interplay between the free market and multinational cartels and embargoes, and lastly, the personality of the trial judge. Shunning any pretense of passivity, Merhige initiated proceedings in the Westinghouse case by ignoring administrative protocol in order to fly to England and convene international discovery proceedings. Merhige refused to accept Attorney General Griffin Bell's promise to grant executive immunity to witnesses; he then issued a grant of judicial immunity which was ultimately overturned by the British House of Lords. Addressing the merits of the case, Merhige offered a qualified ruling which he used to maneuver the parties toward a settlement on damages. His settlement efforts varied from hosting negotiation cocktail parties in his own home to requiring counsel to work on "Saturdays, Sundays, and some days that aren't even on the calendar. "19 Merhige's unorthodox approach predates modern formalized ADR procedures, but his candid reflections upon his role in the Westinghouse case help reveal the impact that a judge's personality can have upon settlement of major litigation.
Ronald J. Bacigal, An Empirical Case Study of Informal Alternative Dispute Resolution, 4 Ohio St. J. on Disp. Resol. 1 (1988).
Bacigal, Ronald J., "An Empirical Case Study of Informal Alternative Dispute Resolution" (1988). Law Faculty Publications. 168.