When you are facing a business dispute, it is important to work with an experienced Santa Fe business litigation attorney who can help you to determine the best course of action for resolving the dispute in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Generally speaking, business disputes will involve an employment dispute, contract dispute (or breach of contract), partnership dispute, or a business-to-business disagreement, such as an unfair or deceptive trade practices claim. Within each of these categories, there are a wide variety of disputes that may arise. For example, an employment dispute may involve an allegation of workplace discrimination or a violation of a non-compete agreement. When it comes to contract disputes or breach of contract cases, a business could be facing a breach of contract issue involving an employee, a customer, or a distributor.
In any type of business dispute, you may have different options for resolving the dispute. In general, the following are the most common ways of resolving business disputes, according to a recent article from Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation, and each has its own benefits and limitations.
Using Mediation to Resolve a Business Dispute
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which allows parties to resolve a business dispute without taking a case into the courtroom. However, it is important to understand that available forms of ADR are quite distinct from one another, and mediation and arbitration have many important differences. In mediation, the parties involved in the dispute enter into negotiations with a neutral third party (the mediator) in an attempt to reach an agreement or resolution. To be clear, in mediation, the parties are able to reach a consensus on their own, and they do not need a third party to make a final decision about their dispute. Accordingly, a mediator never decides who is right and who is wrong, but rather facilitates dialogue between or among the parties.
When parties are able to reach an agreement through mediation, they can formalize the terms in a written agreement. However, mediation is otherwise non-binding, and if the parties cannot reach a consensus, they can still take the dispute to court. Mediation has a number of benefits, including that it is cost-effective, takes less time than litigation, and allows the disputing parties to play a role in the resolution of their case. However, when parties cannot resolve the dispute, mediation often ends up in the courtroom.
Arbitration and Your Business Dispute
Arbitration is another form of ADR. Many employment contracts and other business contracts have mandatory arbitration clauses, which means that the dispute must go to arbitration. A neutral third party (the arbitrator) oversees the arbitration, but unlike mediation, an arbitration makes a final and binding decision in the dispute. Once a business dispute goes to arbitration, it will not end up in litigation. The arbitrator’s decision is also typically unappealable.
Litigation to Resolve a Business Dispute
Civil litigation ultimately involves a lawsuit in which your claim is heard and decided by either a judge or a jury. Depending upon the specific facts of your case, it is important to know that many business disputes that are not resolved through ADR still do not need to enter into a courtroom. Once a lawsuit has been filed, there are options for negotiating a settlement in most business litigation cases. Even if your case does need to go to court, our attorneys are prepared to handle the pre-trial and trial stages of your business’s case.
Contact a Business Litigation Attorney in Santa Fe
If you need assistance resolving a business dispute, our Santa Fe business litigation lawyers can assist you. We have experience handling a wide variety of business disputes and can discuss options for resolving the business issue you are facing. Contact Slate Stern Law today for more information.