If you are facing a business dispute, are there situations in which arbitration may be required or mandatory? In other words, can an existing arbitration agreement mean that the parties cannot take the case to court? Many businesses in New Mexico have contracts with employees, vendors, commercial landlords, and other parties that contain arbitration clauses. In the event of a dispute, an arbitration clause can result in binding arbitration to resolve the dispute. If you do have an arbitration agreement, we want to provide you with some of the information you need to know about arbitration agreements and business disputes.
Arbitration Could be Mandatory
If you are a party to a business contract that has a mandatory arbitration clause and a dispute arises, in most cases, you will be required to resolve the dispute through arbitration instead of filing a civil claim. There are some situations, however, where an arbitration clause will not be enforceable in a business contract. For example, in the relatively recent New Mexico case Dalton v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc. (2016), an automobile finance contract contained an arbitration clause, and the car buyer argued that the arbitration clause unfairly favored the car dealer. The court did ultimately find that the arbitration clause was unenforceable because it was unfairly one-sided in favoring the car dealership.
That case is just one example of a situation in which an arbitration clause may be unenforceable because it is substantially unfair to one of the sides in the dispute.
Arbitration is Binding
In most cases, arbitration is binding. While it is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) like mediation, it is very different from mediation in many ways. While the parties in mediation can always take their dispute to court if the issue cannot be resolved, the parties in arbitration typically are bound by the decision of the arbitrator and cannot appeal to a court for a different outcome to the dispute. Accordingly, it is critical to have a Santa Fe business litigation attorney on your side during arbitration. You will need to present your side to the arbitrator, who will issue a ruling on the dispute.
Arbitration Will Result in a Relatively Fast Dispute Resolution
Unlike business litigation in which a court hears your case and rules on the dispute, disputes heard in arbitration typically get resolved quickly (especially compared to a court case). As such, if you are planning on arbitration for a business dispute, you can expect that the matter will be resolved relatively quickly.
You Need a Business Lawyer on Your Side for Arbitration
Even though you might not be appearing before a judge in a business dispute, it is still essential to have a New Mexico business litigation attorney on your side for arbitration. Given that arbitration is almost always binding, it is critical to do everything you can to ensure that the business dispute is resolved in your favor.
Contact a Business Litigation Attorney in Santa Fe
Do you have questions about arbitration in New Mexico or how a Santa Fe business litigation lawyer can assist you? An attorney at our firm can speak with you today. Contact Slate Stern Law for more information about the services we provide.