We Help Hollywood and Broward County Avoid Construction Litigation
Construction lawsuits sometimes involve high legal fees and a lengthy process. In order to save time and cut costs, people often choose mediation and arbitration as alternative methods of dispute resolution in Broward County. Before making the decision to opt out of an appearance in court, it is important to know the difference between the two alternatives.
Though typically a voluntary process in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, mediation may sometimes be required by some construction contracts, statutes, rules and court orders. The process involves a neutral third party, who facilitates dispute resolution by supervising the exchange of information and bargaining process between the parties. The process is very structured and hands-on as the mediator helps the parties find a common ground by offering creative solutions. The mediator is also able to assist in drafting settlement terms. Interpreting concerns, framing issue and defining problems are other functions mediators typically perform. Unlike litigation, the individual who presides over the process does not render a decision in the end. Instead, the process is complete when the parties resolve their dispute to the extent that they are able to create an oral or written contract.
An arbitration hearing may involve a sole arbitrator or multiple individuals who have been selected to supervise the proceedings. While a panel of three arbitrators is common, proceedings may have any number of supervising individuals, though some jurisdictions require an odd number of arbitrators on the presiding panel in the interest of avoiding a tie. Arbitrators may be appointed directly by the opposing parties, by existing tribunal members (i.e. each party selects one arbitrator; the two selected arbitrators then appoint a third), or by a court or other external party. The process begins when at least one party to the construction lawsuit requests that the dispute be referred to arbitration. Next, the individual or panel of arbitrators is appointed. The parties may wish to meet with their legal counsel and the arbitrators to discuss the overall process and timetable at this point. The claimant will typically issue to the respondent a summary of the dispute and the remedy he or she is seeking. The respondent will either admit or deny the claim, and he or she may state a counterclaim to which the claimant would be required to respond. During the Discovery and Inspection stage, the parties must disclose important documents each side has in its control and decide which documents will be prepared for viewing by the arbitrator. The evidence is then exchanged and reviewed by the arbitrator prior to the hearing. At the end of the hearing, the construction litigation attorney for each party provides the arbitrator with a summary of the client’s evidence and laws that apply. The arbitrator then reviews the information and drafts a written decision, which will usually include his or her reasoning for the decision.
MEDIATION IN THE MODERN-DAY LEGAL PROCESS
In recent years, an increasing number of people have participated in mediation as it is becoming more widely viewed as a viable alternative to litigation. States are also turning to alternatives to ease the burden on their court systems. In Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, most lawsuits are required to be mediated prior to a Broward County court adding the case to the litigation calendar. Moreover, the mediation process can begin in virtually any situation, even before a dispute has resulted in a lawsuit. Opposing parties are often more successful in the mediation environment because they find they are better able to air out their grievances in the more relaxed setting in which mediation takes place. Overall, mediation is a relatively quick, non-binding, confidential and less expensive means of attempting to resolve a construction law dispute before deciding to file a lawsuit and proceed to court.
If you’re involved in a business dispute in Fort Lauderdale but dread the cost of litigation, don’t go it alone. Retain construction lawyer David S. Tupler to represent you at arbitration and mediation and rest easy knowing your issues will be settled right the first time.