Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution

“Dispute resolution” is a system of pathways that can be used to resolve a conflict, dispute or claim before or after litigation has commenced.   I can help prevent the necessity for litigation of your small business’ legal dispute by urging alternative dispute resolution.

Dispute resolution is most often referred to by lawyers as “alternative dispute resolution” or, recently, “appropriate dispute resolution” (ADR for short). ADR provides alternatives to having a court (state or federal judge or jury) decide your case in a trial. ADR can be used to resolve any type of dispute involving your small business, from employment claims to personal injury lawsuits to consumer disputes.  Many judges require that the parties try some form of ADR before their cases come to trial.

Why Use Dispute Resolution?

ADR has several advantages.  Most attractive to the small business person, it is cheaper and faster than the traditional legal process.  ADR can provide the parties involved in the dispute with greater participation in reaching a solution, as well as control over the outcome.  Also, ADR is less formal and allows for flexibility to suit the parties.

Arbitration and Mediation are the two most common forms of ADR.

Mediators are individuals trained in negotiations, who bring opposing parties together and attempt to work out a settlement or agreement that both parties can accept.

Arbitration is a simplified version of a trial involving limited discovery and simplified rules of evidence. The arbitration is headed and decided by an arbitration judge or panel. Arbitration hearings usually last between a few hours to a few days. The judge or panel then deliberates and issues a written decision or arbitration award.

I Can Also Help You With Unusual and Rare Forms of Dispute Resolution.

Negotiation, itself is the preeminent mode of dispute resolution.  And most disputes at some point are at least informally negotiated between the parties or the lawyers.  However, as your small business attorney with knowledge of your business and understanding of your needs, I’ll tailor creative negotiation strategies to maximize your opportunity for dispute resolution.

Baseball Arbitration is a form of arbitration where each side submits a proposal for the award.  The arbitration judge or panel must accept one or the other and cannot modify either or write its own.

Modified-Baseball Arbitration means that when neither proposal is accepted, the sides have to go back and resubmit proposals until one is eventually accepted.

Med-Arb is a mixture of arbitration and mediation that combines the benefits of both strategies. Essentially, the parties start out with the conflict being mediated. If an agreement cannot be achieved, the mediator morphs into an arbiter of the matter.  The parties may also agree that a different neutral conduct the arbitration.

Mini-trial is a means for the parties to test their case and shed light on settlement discussions. In a mini-trial, each party’s attorney presents a short-form version of his case. The evidence and arguments are then presented to a judge or panel chosen by both parties to decide the outcome.

Summary Jury Trial (SJT) is essentially a mock trial with a jury that produces a verdict. It is similar to a mini-trial and is typically ordered by the Judge in existing litigation, rather than being agreed upon by the parties. After hearing the verdict, the Judge usually requires the sides to attempt settling their case before continuing with the litigation.

Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) usually occurs when a case has just been filed.  In this situation, the judge appoints an “evaluator” who provides insights to the parties about their case.  The intended result is that the parties will then engage in negotiation and settle.