For those with little to no experience with legal disputes (many), there is some confusion as to how to address those legal problems. Do we file a lawsuit? Do we go to arbitration? Do we mediate? Well, each one of these can be viable options to resolve a legal issue (sometimes required).
Second, you have to figure out which options are available for pursuing that claim. The most common is a lawsuit. That is where you file a petition with the Court (Federal or State). The Court will then set a trial date and you will litigate the case until trial and the Court will ultimately make a decision (either by jury or a bench trial). There are a few options for State Court cases, which are the most common. Unlimited, limited and small claims are all options. We can explain those options when we get there.
Third, you have to determine whether you can actually petition the Courts. In a lot of contracts, there are provisions that require parties to arbitrate their case instead of filing a lawsuit. Arbitration is when the parties ask a private, neutral person (usually a retired judge), to hear the facts and evidence, and issue a ruling. The decision then, in most instances, becomes binding on the parties. This option is often chose to save time and money, as the process is far less intense as litigation. For example, discovery is severely limited and usually witnesses and evidence is finite.
Finally, you will have to figure out if mediation is necessary or appropriate. Mediation is not to get a ruling on your legal dispute, it is an attempt to informally resolve or settle the claim, before the time and energy is committed to arbitration or a lawsuit. People frequently confuse arbitration and mediation, but they are two very different things. In a lot of instances where the dispute is over a breached contract, that contract can often award attorney’s fees. In some instances, the contract will require a party to attempt to mediate before instituting formal legal proceedings.
If you find yourself in any of the situations above, be sure to reach out to Fry Law Corporation, we can help navigate what is a very complex situation.