Attorney for Arbitration in California
Arbitration in California is an alternative to litigation in a Court room, but it is still adversarial in nature. The end results of it, too, are often permanent without the right to appeal. Agreeing to arbitration, therefore, is not something to take lightly.
At Duvel Law, APC., our attorney for arbitration in Orange County represents, advises, and advocates for our clients when alternatives to litigation are required or sought. Contact us at (714) 542-5100 to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about our services.
Arbitration as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in California
A form of ADR, arbitration involves both parties presenting their case to a neutral third party (an arbitrator) who considers the issues and gives their decision (called an award).
An arbitrator has the power to make a range of awards depending on the circumstances of the case. Awards may include:
- Monetary compensation
- Declaratory relief
- Legal fees
- Punitive damages
Arbitration can be binding or non-binding. Binding means an arbitrator's award is final, whereas the parties can reject an arbitrator's non-binding award and elect to go to trial.
Arbitration is less formal than trial proceedings and is often more cost-effective and quicker. However, it is more formal than other forms of ADR, like negotiation and mediation.
Arbitration may suit cases where the parties want to avoid time-consumiing and expensive litigation. It is also good for parties who want an impartial, informed decision-maker to provide an objective evaluation of their respective positions. It can be a useful avenue for disputes involving technical arguments, as arbitrators are often experts in the relevant subject matter.
Types of Arbitration: Mandatory Binding vs. Binding vs. Non-Binding
Arbitration may be mandatory binding, binding, or non-binding. Each produces benefits and disadvantages and should be considered and weighed accordingly.
Mandatory Binding Arbitration
Mandatory binding, or forced, arbitrations is addressed in a contract between parties. In a mandatory binding arbitration clause, the parties agree to waive their right to a jury and to sue in Court and instead must arbitrate their dispute.
Mandatory binding arbitration clauses can be detailed. They may name the arbitrator who will hear the matter, the arbitration company that must hear the arbitration, like the American Arbitration Association (AAA), and identify which party bears the costs of arbitration. They also agree that the outcome of the arbitration is binding.
This means parties must go to arbitration, they cannot request a Court trial. Mandatory binding arbitration clauses are often found in employment contracts, business deals, cell phone contracts and credit card contracts.
In binding arbitration, the arbitrator's award is final. The parties cannot request a Court trial. The parties also cannot appeal the arbitrator's decision, except in exceptional and limited circumstances.
In non-binding arbitration, the arbitrator's award is advisory. Both parties have the right to reject it and opt to go to trial. Non-binding arbitration is often used in simpler cases where the parties want to play out the strenghts and weaknesses of their case. In so doing, they can often resolve the dispute.
Examples of Disputes in California Settled via Arbitration
Arbitration is typically used to resolve disputes, though it can be used in other scenarios as well. In terms of disputes, examples include:
- Contractual disputes between management and labor
- Disputes between insurance companies and their insured or third parties
- Disputes between corporations and consumers
- Disputes between businesses
- Disputes between individuals
Advantages of Arbitration in California
The advantages of arbitration can be many, but it often depends on whether it is mandatory, binding, or non-binding. Keep the latter in mind when considering these general advantages.
- Less costly than a trial. Arbitration is less formal and may not need the same level of preparation as litigation nor does it follow the strict rules of evidence and procedure like a trial.
- Private. Unlike a trial heard in open court, arbitration proceedings are typically private and the arbitrator's decision may remain confidential. This is useful in situations where the parties want to keep the details of the dispute and its resolution private.
- Parties have more control. They can choose the arbitrator with subject-matter expertise and decide on the procedure of arbitration.
- Maintains the relationship between the parties. Arbitration can be less adversarial than trial proceedings, allowing parties to maintain their contractual relationship afterwards.
Disadvantages of Arbitration in California
Like advantages, the disadvantages can be many, but they should be considered in light of your unique situation - a disadvantage for one perosn may not materialize the same as for another person.
- Cost. While less expensive than a trial, arbitration is more expensive than negotiation or mediation. An arbitrator's fees can add up quickly and, in non-binding arbitration, without a guaranteed resolution.
- No avenues of appeal. Parties typically cannot appeal a binding arbitration award except in limited and exceptional circumstances - for example, evidence of undue influence exists.
- Lack of transparency. Arbitrators are not required to provide written opinions or explanations of their decisions. The limited options for review and the private nature of arbitration reinforce this lack of transparency.
- Limited discovery. This means the parites may have to prepare their case for arbitration on less information then would otherwise be available to them at trial.
When is a Lawyer Needed for Arbitration in California?
It is your choice to have a lawyer advise and guide you through the arbitration process, and it is a choice you should consider seriously. The benefits of a lawyer outweigh the costs. A lawyer, though not required, is especially useful in the following situations.
- Your rights will be affected by the arbitration finding. Arbitration is a legal process that can impact your legal rights, especially when the arbitration is binding. You do not get a second chance nor will you have an opportunity to appeal, so making sure your rights are safeguarded and upheld is critical. An attorney will advise you accordingly.
- You do not know how to make legal arguments. To win arbitration, you must present a compelling case. Your arguments must be supported both by the facts and the law. It is not enough to know yourself what you think the outcome should be, you must be able to persuade others, like an experienced arbitrator, to think the same.
- Your opponent is a large company or employer. Arbitration is often part of a contractual agreement. Companies and employers have experience and know how to present their cases. They also have the resources to commit to presenting their case in a logical, clearly defined manner that can easily persuade an arbitrator. As it is, arbitrators often favor large companies and employers. A lawyer helps even the playing field.
Contact an ADR Attorney in Orange County Today.
If you are required to attend arbitration or are willfully choosing it, you should speak to Glen D. Duvel, Esq., at Duvel Law, APC., in Orange County, California. We will represent your interests, advise you on what is the best approach, and advocate your rights. Contact us today either by using the
or calling us at (714) 542-5100 to schedule a free consultation.