Our team of attorneys truly care about you and your family, not just theoutcome of your case.
Understanding the Arbitration Process in Florida
Crary Buchanan Can Help You Avoid a Lawsuit
Because construction disputes are so common, many contracts address alternative dispute resolutions (ADRs). Arbitration is one form of an ADR. In short, it is a legal technique used by two disputants to resolve conflict outside of the courtroom. There are a variety of reasons to resolve construction disputes without a lawsuit. To begin with, lawsuits are time consuming and expensive. They quickly become tedious and complicated because they are dealt with by a judge instead of someone who already understands the ins and outs of construction cases and can reach a reasonable decision based on this knowledge.
Arbitration is overseen by the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The AAA attempts to provide ADRs that are quick, efficient, and economical. Like a lawsuit, the arbitration process begins when one party of the dispute files a complaint. The complaint is called a Demand for Arbitration and includes an explanation of the problem at hand, a detailed description of the circumstances of the dispute, and a proposed / desired solution. This paperwork has a filing fee attached to it. When the Demand for Arbitration is filed, the other party of the dispute is notified and is afforded the opportunity to enter a counterclaim. The counterclaim consists of the same information, but from the perspective of the other disputant. After the initial claim and counter claim are filed, an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators is selected.
First, the arbitrator organizes a preliminary hearing. During the preliminary hearing, the problem is discussed and both disputants gain a clear understanding of the issue. After each disputant clearly understands the issue at hand, they are given the opportunity to present evidence and arguments in their favor. The arbitrator takes all of the evidence and information into consideration before making a final decision. After the hearing, each party is allowed to present post-hearing information. This may include relevant documents and other information that was not presented in the original hearing. During this process, each disputant may be represented by an attorney.
Mediation vs. Arbitration
Arbitration is different than mediation in that the objective third party acts more like a judge than a negotiator. The arbitrator is hired to review relevant information about the case and reach a decision based on this evidence. Mediation is focused on negotiation – finding a solution that works for both parties of the dispute based on their mutual agreement. Although arbitration is not the same as a judicial proceeding, the decision made by the arbitrator is legally binding and enforceable in court. Many times, arbitration is voluntary, but some disputes require mandatory cooperation. This situation is rare, though.
Although arbitration is common, companies and contractors should be aware of its drawbacks. Generally speaking, mediation seeks to find a reasonable solution that is fair to bother parties. Arbitration attempts to do the same but may be restricted by the construction contract that is already in place.
Some factors to keep in mind when dealing with arbitration include:
- Although the arbitrator has the authority to make legally enforceable decision, he / she cannot make decisions that violate any contracts that are already in place.
- If either party of the dispute is seeking to make a compromise outside the bounds of the contract, the arbitrator cannot decide in their favor.
- Decisions made by the arbitrator cannot be appealed – they are legally binding and final.
Ready to get started? Contact our Port St. Lucie construction dispute attorneys today!
If you or your company is facing arbitration or is thinking about filing for arbitration, contact our Port St. Lucie construction dispute lawyers at Crary Buchanan today. Whether you need help settling a problem with the construction site, a nonpayment issue or another dispute, our firm may be able to get you the favorable case outcome you want. We have over 85 years of legal experience with which to provide your case. Allow us to represent your best interests from beginning to end.
Click here to visit the Crary Buchanan – Port St. Lucie Office
Fort Pierce Phone Number: (772) 468-6288
Okeechobee Phone Number: (863) 467-2650
We are one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast, and we value our long-standing relationships with clients.
Our attorneys consider it an honor to controbute their time and energy to improving our community, our government and the legal profession as a whole.
Our team of attorneys is made up of professionals who are experienced in handling all types of