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How Do You Resolve a Business Dispute in California?

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Regardless of your industry or the size of your business, business disputes occur all the time. They can occur between a company and an individual or between two businesses. Resolving the conflict as quickly as possible can help you avoid a costly, drawn-out legal battle that could become a significant issue for your company.

If you are in the middle of a business dispute in California, there are several methods you could use to resolve the dispute:


Negotiation is the most cost-effective conflict resolution when a business dispute arises. If you have a business attorney, they will meticulously gather evidence related to the dispute and document any losses you’ve incurred. They will then draft a carefully worded demand letter to the other party to let them know that you are taking the dispute seriously and to encourage them to come to the negotiating table. This can effectively kickstart settlement talks while avoiding a lawsuit and a significant disruption to your daily business operations.  


In California, judges often order opposing parties to attend mediation before a trial proceeds. If the two parties can successfully work through their differences in mediation, they can save significant time and stress. Given that California’s courts continue to be overwhelmed by a backlog of civil cases in the wake of the pandemic, getting the parties to reach an agreement in mediation is also in the court’s interest.

During mediation, a neutral third party will help each party find common ground and come to a resolution. The terms of mediation are non-binding, and both parties must voluntarily agree to a settlement for the dispute to be resolved. In mediation, you retain significant control over the process since the mediator is merely a facilitator and does not have decision-making authority the way a judge does. As with negotiation, resolving business disputes in mediation can save you significant time and money.  


Business contracts sometimes dictate that disputes must be ironed out in arbitration. Arbitration is a more formal process than mediation, but it also involves an impartial third party, the arbitrator, who listens to both sides’ arguments and reviews their evidence. Once both parties have finished making their respective cases, the arbitrator will hand down a decision and issue a settlement, thereby resolving the dispute. Unlike mediation, arbitration is legally binding, and the arbitrator’s decision is generally final. No appeal is available. 


If a business dispute cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation, then it will proceed to trial. Because California’s courts are dealing with an overwhelming number of cases, you may have to wait a significant amount of time for your case to be resolved through litigation. Still, litigation is sometimes the only way to obtain the full damages you are entitled to. If your case goes to trial, the court will hear from both sides before issuing a judgment, which will effectively end the dispute.

To have the best chance of winning your case, you need to have a seasoned trial attorney in your corner. Your lawyer can walk you through every step of the process, offer you insightful legal advice, craft a winning strategy on your behalf, and protect your rights in court. 

Contact a Riverside Business Lawyer for Help

If you are dealing with a business conflict, a Riverside business attorney from Wagner Zemming Christensen, LLP, can help. Our attorneys are skilled communicators who know how to negotiate a favorable settlement with fellow attorneys, but we also have extensive trial experience. We could provide you with aggressive representation in court if necessary. Contact us at 951-686-4800 to set up a consultation today.



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