It is sometimes said that, “Americans are a litigious sort.” We do seem to take all sorts of disputes, large or small, to court. In fact, some of the most popular reality television shows in syndication – “The People’s Court,” “Judge Judy,” and others – are courtroom based. The mantra seems to be, “We’ve been wronged, and we want a judge.” A look behind the TV shows discloses, of course, that the Judge Judy’s courtroom isn’t real, nor is she currently a sitting judge. She is instead an arbitrator and the parties have agreed to let her determine their dispute.
Arbitration: It Makes Sense for Many Business and Consumer Disputes
More and more, businesses are turning to arbitration to resolve disputes. Arbitration offers a number of advantages of battling the issues out in court:
• Often, arbitration is less expensive than traditional litigation. While the costs of arbitration have grown in recent years – a qualified arbitrator can charge several thousand dollars per day for his or her services – arbitration is usually cheaper than airing the issues in court. The arbitration procedure can be streamlined, saving valuable time, which means saving money.
• Arbitration usually results in a quicker resolution of the issues. It seems that delay is built into the traditional litigation system. Recent studies show that the average time from filing to decision in arbitration is one-third that of traditional court battles.
• Scheduling arbitration is much more flexible. There are no competing cases; there is no crowded docket. Where it is convenient for the parties, arbitration can even occur on weekends or in the evening. Try talking the judge into Saturday morning court!
• Arbitration can be more private. Courtrooms, of course, are public forums. Arbitration need not be open to the public at all.
• Arbitration can be final. In traditional litigation, with multiple appeals, sometimes it seems that the dispute can never actually be resolved. It is possible to structure a contract such that disputes are subject to binding arbitration. A dispassionate arbitrator hears the dispute, reviews the evidence, and makes a decision. Putting the matter behind a party can have positive results, no matter what the actual outcome.
Arbitration Clauses Should Be Considered For Automobile Sales Contracts
Has your automobile dealership reviewed its sales contracts lately? Does it utilize arbitration to resolve consumer disputes? If not, should arbitration be incorporated into your standard sales agreements? Do your sales agreements incorporate class action waivers? While California law embodies a host of provisions designed to assist and protect the consumer, particularly when that consumer is in the hands of an aggressive consumer’s attorney, your business is not without power of its own.
CKB VENNA LLP has a long history of representing clients in all phases of business litigation, including vigorous representation of dealers and other automotive businesses regarding alleged violations of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act. Our team understands the complexity of the issues, and stands ready to assist your business. We have offices in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles. Contact us by telephone at 909-980-1040, or complete our online form.