Options for resolving Florida business disputes out of court

If your business were to fall on hard times, would it survive financially? What if that hard time was caused by a lawsuit?

Small businesses operate on tight margins. A disagreement over a missed deadline, breached contract or unpaid invoice can quickly escalate into a legal dispute. Even if the parties want to resolve the matter, sometimes they cannot find common ground and end up putting their futures in the hands of a judge or jury. If the business dispute is with a much larger business with deep pockets, litigation may be the only choice for those needing a legal remedy.

Fortunately, Florida business owners have options that can save them money, time and the emotional upheaval of lawsuits.

Resolving your business dispute outside of court

Mediation and arbitration are two of the most common forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Both options allow disputing parties opportunities to resolve their differences quickly and cost-effectively. Their attorneys typically represent parties during these processes.

  • Mediation: Mediation is a confidential and informal process that allows disputing parties to discuss their case with the assistance of a neutral person - the mediator. The mediator guides the discussion, helping the parties find their own solutions. The mediator does not judge or render a decision. If no agreement is reached, hopefully each party comes away from the process with a better understanding of the other party's position.
  • Arbitration: An arbitration hearing is similar to a mini-trial before a judge but is much less formal and produces faster results. An arbitrator hears the evidence from both sides and makes a decision. Arbitration can be used to resolve select portions of a pending case or may encompass all issues at stake in the matter.

Some judicial circuits in Florida also use summary jury trials on an ad hoc basis. With this option, attorneys present the opposing views of the parties to a six-person jury panel. The jury then provides its assessment of the case. This information can be extremely helpful for facilitating settlement negotiations.

An ADR process allows you to have a say in the outcome of your case by letting you be a part of the solution. Ask your business lawyer if ADR clauses should be included in your business contracts and if ADR can help you resolve a pending dispute.

Skilled lawyers for every business situation

At Kuhn Law Firm, P.A., in Fort Myers, our skilled attorneys maintain a track record of success in the courtroom. Not only are we skilled negotiators, we will always pursue mediation or arbitration if these options are in your best interests. Of course, if an alternative dispute resolution process does not get you the result you need or deserve, we are prepared to take your case to court.