Resolving Washington DC Business Disputes with Mediation or Arbitration
No business owner wants to find themselves in the middle of a nasty business dispute, but it is a risk anyone who owns a business faces. Resolving the dispute in the most timely and cost-efficient manner should be your number one priority. Otherwise, a business dispute takes you away from your business — physically and financially.
Going through litigation can be costly and takes a significant amount of your time, which is why many business owners prefer ADR. ADR stands for alternative dispute resolution and refers to processes like arbitration or mediation. Businesses use ADR methods to help resolve disputes in a timelier manner so they can put their focus back on the company.
If you are facing a business dispute, it’s important to contact a Washington DC business litigation attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you determine whether ADR is appropriate for your situation and which ADR mechanism works best for your company. He or she will help you get prepared so you aren’t missing more time from work.
How Does Mediation Work?
Mediation is the less formal of the two ADR methods outlined here. The process allows both sides to have an opportunity to openly discuss the merits of their case. The goal is to reach an agreement at the end of the process. However, there is no requirement that you settle, nor is there a ruling or judgment entered. In most mediations, the mediator will ask that both sides submit briefs before the hearing date so he or she has time to review them in advance.
Each mediator handles his or her cases in their own way. There is no mandatory format that you must follow. Usually, the case starts with the plaintiff making their presentation and the defendant’s will follow. There may be a short question and answer period and then the mediator sends each side to their own room. The mediator will then go back and forth between parties in an attempt to reach a resolution.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitrations are more formal than mediations. One important distinction between a mediation and an arbitration is the fact that the arbitrator will render a decision in an arbitration. Depending on whether or not there is a contract that requires both sides to use arbitration to resolve business disputes, the decision may be binding. When parties submit to binding arbitration, it means you are accepting the arbitrator’s award and are not proceeding to court to further litigate the matter.
Arbitration is like a mini trial, but without the formal discovery process and no witnesses. The arbitrator will take everything under consideration and issue their award maybe a week or longer later. You might be wondering why anyone would submit to having an arbitrator decide a case over a judge. Aside from the obvious time and financial savings, arbitrations and mediations are private and confidential. A binding arbitration award stays out of the court record and keeps business dealings out of the public eye.
Contact a Washington DC Business Litigation Attorney
If you have questions on proceeding with ADR, or you would like an ADR clause added to your business contracts, speak with a knowledgeable Washington DC business litigation attorney. Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing today at 202-362-5900 to schedule an initial consultation.