Boulder City Magazine® September 2007 Issue
by Bruce L. Woodbury, Esq.
Jolley, Urga, Wirth, Woodbury & Standish
So, Sue Me
No business or individual is immune from lawsuits. Litigation is expensive, lengthy and disruptive. That is why business and personal contracts often contain provisions which require that legal disputes be submitted to mediation or arbitration instead of litigation in court. Even when not required by contract, potential litigants and their attorneys often agree to mediation or arbitration to resolve legal claims in an expeditious and economical manner.
Boulder City Magazine®
|Mediation is a process involving a professional facilitator who brings the disputing parties together to negotiate a settlement. The mediator does not render a decision or take sides. He or she presents an objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses on each side, as well as the advantages of resolving the matter fast. Usually, mediation results in a settlement.
Arbitration involves one or more skilled professionals who hold a hearing, review the evidence, and render a decision. The process is faster and less expensive than a trial in court. Formal rules of evidence do not apply. The arbitrator’s decision normally is binding and final.
Even when the parties to a lawsuit in state district court have not agreed to arbitration, mandatory non-binding arbitration is required where the amount in dispute is less than $50,000.00. Our court system is over-loaded with civil and criminal cases, and mandatory arbitration for smaller cases helps to reduce the number of trials. It must be non-binding when the parties have not agreed to arbitrate because of the constitutional right to a trial by jury. However, if either party unsuccessfully seeks to overturn the arbitration award, he or she will be required to pay opposing counsel’s fees and costs. As a result, most decisions are not appealed to a trial.
Arbitration and mediation should always be considered as potential alternative means of resolution by anyone involved in a legal dispute.
Bruce L. Woodbury is an attorney with the law firm of Jolley Urga Wirth Woodbury & Standish. The firm has offices in Boulder City and Las Vegas. To contact Bruce, visit his website at www.juwws.com.
P.O. Box 61901
Boulder City, Nevada 89006
Phone (702) 294-1392 Fax (702) 294-1392
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