ARBITRATION AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO LITIGATION DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS
Although the courts have resumed their operations (many in a limited fashion) after being shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic, most courts are still experiencing a significant backlog of civil cases. As a result of the volume of legal disputes, some courts are scheduling civil jury trials one year out, or even longer. Many lawsuits from 2020 have been continued at least once due to COVID-19, and some have experienced multiple continuances.
In addition to the logjam on the court’s dockets, another unfortunate side effect of the pandemic has been the increase in business and commercial disputes. Legal matters regarding contracts, payments, and employment are often accompanied by the demand for a jury trial.
Litigants and their counsel who wish to resolve their legal matters without delay can consider alternative forms of dispute resolution. One such option is arbitration.
The Benefits of Arbitration
Resolving Your Legal Dispute in a Timely Manner
At present, one of the most significant advantages of this form of dispute resolution is that arbitration generally takes less time than litigation. Arbitrations are usually resolved within a year of the matter being filed. During the course of this pandemic, many arbitrations are moving forward “virtually”, and so are not experiencing the inherent delays court proceedings may be facing.
Allowing for Flexibility
Arbitration is a flexible process that allows the participants more input on its procedural structure. This flexibility does not depend on the availability of the court. The process allows parties flexibility when working together regarding scheduling and procedures, including virtual presentations.
Keeping Costs Down
Because the parties can “streamline” an arbitration, it is possible to present the same case in arbitration in less time than may be required in a court proceeding. Additionally, because arbitration can accommodate more “virtual” presentations, individuals engaged in arbitration typically see a “quicker” hearing process. Likewise, creating a “firm” hearing date, and holding that date, prevents duplicative and wasteful preparation expenses related to preparing for a hearing date that may get moved. Of course, arbiters are paid by the litigants, while court judges are paid by taxes, so that expense is higher with an arbitration than it would be with a court trial.
Working with an Experienced Arbitrator
Arbitration allows the parties to choose arbitrators who have a thorough understanding of their specific legal matter.
Testimony and exhibits in arbitrations can be presented via technological means. Virtual hearings are common in arbitration proceedings.
Unlike a trial, the details of an arbitration can be kept confidential. A trial in Court is a public proceeding, open to the public.
Most arbitrations are binding, which means there are limited opportunities to file an appeal. As a result, arbitration often provides the end of the legal dispute.
Arbitration provides litigants with an option to avoid litigation and to reach a resolution of the legal matter within a reasonable amount of time. The delays in our civil court system due to the COVID-19 crisis, particularly the slowdown in civil jury trials, will continue to make it difficult for businesses to litigate their disputes in an expeditious manner. The backlog within our court systems has provided a reason for litigants to give further consideration to arbitration as a private dispute resolution mechanism. Many arbitrations can be resolved in less than 12 months from any location that has access to telephone and internet connections. Of course, any litigant considering suit or arbitration should consult with a lawyer knowledgeable about the pros and cons of each system, and make the decision that is in their best interests in light of all of the considerations. However, until the COVID-19-related delays in our civil court system no longer present an issue, clients and their attorneys would be wise to consider the streamlined and efficient processes of arbitration as an alternative means of dispute resolution.
The trial lawyers at Burg Simpson are prepared to advise you about the relative benefits of all of the various options available to you to address your business litigation needs. Please feel free to call or write us with any questions.
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Dave Hersh is a civil trial lawyer with the skill, passion, and experience to win your case. When your business or health is on the line, Dave is the advocate you want in your corner, fighting for you. For more than 35 years Dave has focused his practice on civil trial work. Dave thrives on handling complex civil cases, presenting them simply, effectively, and persuasively to a jury. Dave has tried well over 145 civil jury trials to verdict and has “tried” scores of civil arbitrations and bench trials to their conclusion, with an outstanding “win” record in all venues. Dave has dedicated his life to advocating for others in their time of need.
One of America’s foremost plaintiff trial firms, Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, has a longstanding and nationwide reputation for fighting relentlessly and successfully for victims of negligence, malfeasance, malpractice, and abuse. Our attorneys have never hesitated to fight for our client’s rights and consistently face and defeat formidable adversaries that include big insurance companies, big banks, and big pharma. Burg Simpson has secured more than $1 billion in verdicts, settlements, and judgments in practice areas spanning catastrophic personal injury, mass tort and class actions regarding gas explosions, dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and devices, medical malpractice, complex commercial and business litigation, construction defects, and workers’ compensation. The firm’s success has also included more than 200 recoveries in excess of $1 million.
Burg Simpson was founded in 1976 by distinguished American trial lawyer Michael Burg. Mr. Burg is an inductee in the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award. He has also been named to the 2016 RoundTable: America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers by The Trial Lawyer magazine; Law Week’s “Barrister’s Best” as “Best Civil Litigator”; and one of “America’s 50 Leading Trial Lawyers” by the U.S. Legal 500. Mr. Burg has also been recognized by Best Lawyers in America® and Super Lawyers®. Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine now has more than 70 lawyers and over 90 legal professionals. The firm is based in Colorado and has offices in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, California, and Wyoming.
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