Disputes happen in a variety of contexts. But when they happen in the business world, the consequences can be quite expensive for everyone involved.
A common scenario involves when an agreement is made to purchase another company at a specific price. If one party attempts to back out of this deal, the other may be able to sue that party — and depending on the original agreement, millions of dollars could be at stake.
Fortunately, not all business disputes reach such a scale. However, business disputes of any size should be taken seriously to avoid potential future ramifications. Hiring a business dispute attorney to help you resolve the problem as efficiently as possible is the first step. Here are key approaches your attorney may take to resolve your dispute.
Mediation or Negotiation Between Parties
The most cost-effective way to resolve a business dispute is often to negotiate a fair settlement that both parties can agree to. This is true whether it is a dispute between business partners who want to go separate ways or a contract dispute between your business and a client.
If the two parties are even vaguely close in their desired outcomes, mediation can take place relatively quickly. Typically, a neutral third party will mediate the discussions and suggest solutions that might satisfy both sides. Additionally, your lawyer will be present during mediation and will protect your interests.
While this can be an effective way of resolving the dispute, it is important to note that mediation is not binding. The neutral party can’t force you to agree to any terms, and no decisions are final until both parties sign a new contract agreeing to the resolution.
Arbitration as an Alternative to Litigation
If negotiation isn’t an option — or if it fails — there is an alternative to litigation. You can agree to surrender your right to a court trial and submit to binding arbitration.
There are a few advantages to arbitration. First, it usually takes much less time than a court case and often costs less in legal fees as well.
Also, both parties must agree on how the arbitration process will proceed, including what standards of evidence will be in place. You don’t have this same leeway in a courtroom. The judge defines the process, and the standards of evidence are defined by federal and state laws.
In general, the arbiter is a retired judge or someone with a similarly keen legal mind. They will assess the evidence presented and make a decision. This decision is confidential — though this is also part of the process that can be negotiated — and typically cannot be appealed.
The latter is the biggest downside of arbitration. Unless you can prove that the arbiter was unfairly biased for some reason, you only get one shot to make your case.
If I Choose to Litigate, Will the Case End in a Trial Verdict?
Whether a case ends in a trial verdict if you choose to litigate depends on what outcome you are seeking in your case. However, even when one party litigates, the lawyers involved may negotiate a settlement during the pretrial period.
At that point, you can discuss with your attorney whether you can accept the settlement or whether a trial will get you better results.
Can I Be Forced to Enter Arbitration to Resolve a Dispute?
Unfortunately, if you have signed a contract that agrees that you will resolve any disputes via arbitration, most judges will respect that contract. Many businesses will insist on arbitration clauses as part of any contract they agree to.
A Skilled Business Litigation Lawyer Can Protect Your Interests
If you are facing any type of business dispute, it is essential to consult with a qualified business attorney to protect your interests. Even simple disputes can have costly consequences.
Protect your business with the help of the dedicated team of Dunn Sheehan. Our business litigation lawyers bring big-firm experience and exceptional service to every case. Contact us to schedule your consultation and learn more about your legal options today.