Experienced and Skilled Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorney-Mediator & Arbitrator Operating in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Throughout the State of Texas, and in all Regions of the United States
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to a number of different methods used to settle controversies outside the civil court system. These include mediation, nonbinding arbitration, binding arbitration, and summary jury trials.
What Is the difference between Arbitration and Mediation?
One of the basic differences between mediation and arbitration is that in mediation, the parties themselves are the decision makers. The mediator’s function is to bring the parties together, to facilitate communication between them, and to help them resolve their dispute. In arbitration, on the other hand, it is the arbitrator (or the panel of arbitrators in more complex cases) who is the decision maker. During the arbitration hearing, the parties are not communicating with each other. Instead, they are presenting their case, through their attorneys, to the arbitrator. After hearing all of the evidence presented, the arbitrator renders his decision.
Sometimes, mediation can be the first step in a two-step process. In the first step, the parties agree to go to mediation to try to settle their dispute with the help of the mediator. If the mediation is unsuccessful, then step two takes place wherein the parties agreed to go to binding arbitration. In binding arbitration, the dispute is resolved when the arbitrator renders his decision because the parties agreed in advance that the arbitrator’s decision will be final.
For additional information about Mediation and Arbitration, refer to the drop down menu under Practice Areas.
What is a Summary Jury Trial?
A summary jury trial is another alternative dispute resolution process. It is a mock trial conducted by a summary jury judge before an actual jury. The attorneys present a summary of the evidence through a modified trial procedure so that the case can usually be tried in one day. This is an opportunity for disputing parties to “try” their case before a jury that then deliberates and renders a verdict which is advisory, and thus nonbinding. The unique and very important aspect of this process is that after the jury renders its verdict, the parties and their attorneys are permitted to question the jurors. The questions usually focus on the jurors’ impressions of the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case, the pros and cons of each attorney’s presentation of his case, and the reason the jury decided the way that it did. This critical information is then used by the parties to help them settle the case themselves, sometimes with the assistance of a mediator. If a settlement cannot be reached, then the case can proceed to an actual court trial.
Summary jury trials are very useful when each party is convinced that the jury will side with that party in an actual court trial. This is a much faster and less expensive way to determine the validity of such an assumption. This process is also very cost and time effective in cases that will take many days or weeks to try in an actual court trial. It should be noted that the parties can agree that the verdict of the jury in a Summary Jury Trial will be binding. If the parties so decide, the controversy is then resolved.
Scheduling Mediation, Arbitration or Summary Jury Trial
To schedule one of the ADR processes for your dispute, contact Bud Silverberg’s office by calling (972) 764-4300 or contact us online.