Operating any kind of business is demanding. Business owners often feel overwhelmed by the various responsibilities they must meet each day. They strategize to become successful, expand operations, and continue to grow. They also attend meetings, oversee employees, and determine when to fire someone.
Owners can face disputes in any component of their business. Disputes can arise between an employer and their employee, two or more employees, an owner and their partner, or the company and a client or vendor.
Resolving business disputes can be challenging. Many end up in litigation so that a judge can issue a ruling on the matter. However, alternative dispute resolution can be used to prevent a costly and time-consuming courtroom battle. More specifically, private mediation could assist opposing parties in settling the issue without pursuing a lawsuit.
Understanding the Process of Mediation
Mediation is a voluntary, informal process between parties that disagree on an issue. Both parties must agree to participate in this method of conflict resolution for mediation to occur.
Every mediator’s style is different. However, the process typically follows the steps listed below.
Each side can prepare information regarding the business dispute and arguments for their positions on the matter. The mediator will meet with opposing parties and their attorneys in an informal setting.
Each person has an opportunity to make an opening statement to the mediator. They can communicate their issues and state what they hope to gain from mediation. The mediator will hear both parties’ cases and review all the information they receive.
It isn’t the mediator’s job to issue a ruling. They are there to facilitate conversations between the disputing parties. They can offer suggestions on resolving the problem, but it is ultimately up to each side to determine whether and how they want to settle the case.
Benefits of Private Mediation
Business disputes can be stressful. It can cost a lot of time and money if you can’t reach an agreement, and you might have to resort to litigation to resolve the issues.
Choosing private mediation instead can be advantageous. The top five benefits are below.
Neutral Third Party
A third party without any interest in the business dispute can come in and help the parties achieve a positive outcome. Mediators don’t have a personal stake in negotiation talks or use their own agenda to resolve the problem. Instead, they help each side communicate and offer solutions to settle the case.
Cheaper than Litigation
Even private mediators who charge expensive fees are often cheaper than litigation. Spending years in a lawsuit and paying court costs and legal fees can cause significant financial strain. Many people can’t afford the expenses and struggle to find a way to pay.
Mediation can keep costs lower and provide the parties an opportunity to resolve the problem quickly. Instead of attending meetings with your lawyer, court hearings, and other legal appointments, you can attend one meeting and potentially resolve the entire case within hours.
Every aspect of litigation is a matter of public record. That means anyone can look at every filed document, court ruling, and bit of information included in the lawsuit. You can’t prevent anyone from performing an internet search and reading about your lawsuit.
Mediation stays private. It doesn’t end up online, and no one other than the parties involved can ask for copies of the relevant documentation. Your personal information, business dealings, and other sensitive topics stay away from public view.
The mediation process is flexible. Opposing parties have a say in who mediates the case and where the mediation should occur. Each side can also determine how they want to proceed with the process.
Litigation doesn’t allow flexibility. The court sets the schedule and expects each party to adhere to procedural requirements.
Instead of fighting against each other in a lawsuit, mediation offers a neutral setting where both parties can work together to resolve the dispute. That means reaching an amicable decision is possible.
Preserving the business relationship is critical while navigating a disagreement and deciding how to work through the problem. Settling the case during mediation and avoiding litigation could ensure that opposing parties maintain an amicable relationship.
Wagner Zemming Christensen, LLP, has represented Riverside clients in business disputes since 2004. We have experience in multiple forms of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation. When you hire us, our legal team will review the circumstances of your case and advise you about methods for settling your dispute outside of court.
For a confidential consultation with a private mediation lawyer in Riverside, CA, call 951-686-4800 or contact us online.