Home > business > Lessons From Trial: Business Owners – Don’t Be so Quick to File a Lawsuit.

Lessons From Trial: Business Owners – Don’t Be so Quick to File a Lawsuit.

Happy Friday, all!

It’s been a while since my last post. My month of October was swallowed up alive by a jury trial spanning 11 days over a 3 week period. So, forgive me, but I am going to go off on a rant about businesses litigation. Because it is what is on my mind at the moment.

I. Litigation and Football.

The past month whenever I told anyone that I was busy in trial (mostly through my auto-respond e-mail) – the response I often received was “good luck“.

Kind of brings me back to the days of playing high school football. (Yes, I am one of those guys who reminisces about such things…much to my dismay, I wasn’t tall enough to play for Michigan State…)

On game day, I would get a lot of: “good luck in your game tonight!

Indeed – in litigation, like a high school football game, there are winners and there are losers.

Litigation, like football, is an adversarial process. 

II. So where am I going with this? Mediation.

In Kent County, we have an effective business court.  I am thankful that business lawyers have the business court as a viable tool to resolve business disputes.

That being said, for businesses there are often more effective ways to resolve disputes than to go to war – initiate a lawsuit, go through the court system for two years, and have the case resolved by way of a 3 week trial in front of a jury or judge.

I’m a proponent of mediation. I’ve previously written posts about mediation.

To be fair, mediation and arbitration don’t always work. Arbitration clauses in particular have critics, particularly in consumer transactions, as a recent ABAJournal article notes.

III. Benefits of Mediation.

Mediation and arbitration provisions in contracts have a place. In particular, mediation can:

  • resolve disputes quickly, without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
  • resolve disputes privately.
  • could save business relationships and personal relationships.
  • could save years of emotional and mental turmoil that can impact your business life and personal life.  

IV. Mediation Clauses Aren’t For Every Scenario.

I’m not saying that arbitration and or mediation provisions work in every contract. They don’t. For instance, you don’t want an arbitration provision without the ability to go to court to enforce an injunction to gain immediate relief from bad actions by another company/person.

But arbitration and mediation provisions should be considered.

They have a place.

Ok. I’m done with my rant. Have a great weekend.

Questions? Comments?

E-mail: Jeshua@dwlawpc.com

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