Arizona Business Mediation

In the past decade, courts all over the country to require litigants to attempt mediation before having a trial or hearing. In Arizona,

Arizona Business Mediation

Arizona Business Mediation

Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) is mandatory for all parties regardless of the amounts involved and arbitration is mandatory for all disputes when the amount in controversy is below $50,000.00  Unfortunately, not all those appointed to settle cases have the same experience especially regarding business related disputes.  Many have no experience at all.

For most Arizona businesses with an internal disputes such as compensation, contract disputes, employee grievances, disagreements among owners, etc., mediation in AZ is often an inexpensive and fast method to resolve differences where both parties in the dispute are satisfied with the result.

When mediation is required by the Arizona court, generally there is no cost to mediate unless the parties elect to agree upon a private Arizona mediator. When parties agree to private mediation generally the costs are borne equally by both parties.

Many lawyers understand the mediation process but have no experience having served as a mediator or arbitrator. Even without this experience, most lawyers know that you can’t predict the outcome of a court hearing, and believe mediation is a good first alternative to litigating. Lawyer mediators are generally more expensive than public community mediation programs. They don’t take sides and act to first find common understandings between the parties, then understand the each party’s motivations address each issue to find a resolution.  A few of the benefits of a lawyer trained mediator is that often they can memorialize an agreement between the parties that is more formal, more detailed and less ambiguous than a volunteer community mediator.  Further, an attorney mediator such as Jared Simmons who is knowledgeable and experienced in business issues can understand the legal and factual framework necessary to facilitate mediation whereas a volunteer mediator may not.

I recently was involved in a mediation where the owners of two companies were at odds over a breach of a contract between the two.  This dispute involved a confusing and ambiguous contract that they parties had written themselves.  Each had a different interpretation of the contract and each position was reasonable.  The parties had been arguing for approximately a year before I was asked to get involved.  Each owner had their own legal and factual reasons for believing they were right and the relationship between the two had diminished to nothing.  After speaking with each of the owners privately for a while I then asked each the same question: Did they make more profit previously working together or after the dispute?  Each responded that they made more money before the dispute but now it was the principal of the thing.  Now that I had the same answer from both, and understood the hurdle in the way of resolution, we quickly determined a solution that enabled the owners to end their differences and agree to continue the business relationship with a better agreement in place that more specifically addressed each owner’s concern to prevent future disputes.

Had this dispute continued in litigation, each would have paid significant sums in attorney’s fees, would likely have never worked together again and the outcome for each was uncertain.  This is great but very common example that demonstrates the value of mediation.

Jared C. Simmons is a Scottsdale business mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation,he can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or jared@sglawaz.com.  This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice.  See a legal professional before making legal decisions.

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Alona M. Gottfried, Esq.
8160 E Butherus Dr, Suite #7 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: (480) 776-8271