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It is almost inevitable that business owners will encounter disputes with their partners. When that happens, many different methods can resolve a dispute while protecting each partner’s legal interests. When done carefully and properly, dispute resolution can protect each partner’s legal interests without hurting the daily operations of the business.
Business disputes can be expensive and time-consuming. An experienced business attorney can help find the most effective method of resolving your disputes while protecting your financial and legal interests.
Some business owners imagine that the only way to protect their legal interests is to file a lawsuit against their partners. In truth, litigation is costly and can have a negative effect on the profitability of a business. This often works to the detriment of all partners. For this reason, generally consider litigation as a last resort.
So how can a business owner resolve a partnership dispute without filing a lawsuit? Through many forms of alternative dispute resolution. First, business partners can hire a private mediator or arbitrator. This person can serve as a neutral third party to help partners explore their options. The mediator or arbitrator does not have the authority to make legally binding decisions. Private mediation or arbitration, however, helps the partners to explore options they might not have thought of themselves. This process allows the partners to take part in a solution in which they have a say, rather than letting a judge make a decision for them.
Business disputes can also be subject to court-ordered mediation or arbitration. This is an increasingly popular tool in American courts. In this case, a judge will order the parties to attempt arbitration or mediation with a person assigned by the court, and only after this process will the court schedule the dispute for trial. This clears court dockets by increasing the chances of settlement. In many cases, mediators or arbitrators will have the authority to enter settlements as binding court orders. In other cases, arbitrators have the authority to hear disputes and make decisions, which are entered as court orders. The decision can be appealed to the court. Both systems are faster and cheaper than formal litigation.
If these methods do not lead to satisfactory resolutions, business partners can submit their disputes to trial. Judges or juries then determine how to resolve the disputes. Remember, however, that attorney’s fees and other litigation expenses are costly. It often takes several months to simply schedule a trial date—months during which the profitability and assets of a business can be significantly impaired.
Attorney Andrew Weisblatt has helped business owners resolve disputes quickly and effectively for 25 years. The Weisblatt Law Firm offers dispute resolution services for partnerships, boards of directors, shareholders, and all other business relationships. Call (713) 352-0847 or contact us online to schedule your free phone consultation today. We will ensure you have access to the best dispute resolution tools for your business interests.