The American Arbitration Association's San Francisco regional office was recently challenged by the need to arrange a mediation between a party living in a small town in California and a party living in another state about 1.500 miles away. The conflict arose out of alleged undisclosed defects in the sale of a residence. The purchaser believed that the defects should have been known by the seller and disclosed, with the seller claiming ignorance of all but one small defect discovered while he was moving, which he arranged to have repaired on his way out of town. While the claim was under $10,000, the emotional commitment was high. Tensions were aggravated by the fact that initial communication regarding the problem was made throughreal estate agents who took an adversarial posture at the outset, then exacerbated by an etremely adversarial series of letters from counsel. The parties had no direct communication between the time of the last walk-through of the property and the mediation itself.