Anodyne ADR is dedicated to resolving disputes as painlessly as possible, whether the dispute is fresh or in litigation.
Lisa L. Pittman’s twenty-five years’ experience trying a wide variety of cases and degree in psychology helps her analyze and quell disputes.
She is a mediator and arbitrator certified by the University of Texas School of Law.
The ultimate goal of ADR is a complete resolution of the dispute finalized with a binding settlement agreement.
Mediation and Arbitration
Both mediation and arbitration aim to amicably resolve an otherwise contentious dispute in a manner that is largely fair to all parties. The parties can often agree to the parameters, scope, and procedure of ADR tailored to the situation at hand.
Alternative Dispute Resolution refers to two avenues of solving disputes:
Mediation: a confidential, non-binding process usually conducted with an independent mediator who evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the dispute, facilitates discussion between parties, and proposes a resolution or a binding settlement of the dispute. It usually occurs in a single day and the costs are fixed and always less than litigation. Mediation also allows for more creative resolutions than litigation would.
Arbitration: typically a binding, formal process that is similar to but replaces the full trial process, often with a panel of three chosen people to serve as private judges in your case. This can be less expensive than trial and keeps the dispute out of the public eye. Arbitration is also helpful in cannabis cases where contracts can be voided for being contrary to federal law. It is quite likely a contract governing your dispute contains an arbitration clause requiring you to arbitrate.
Ms. Pittman has special expertise based on personally litigating and mediating claims relating to:
Breach of contract
Complex insurance coverage
Deceptive trade practices
Government regulation/administrative law
Marijuana and hemp
Real estate/property/land use disputes
Arbitration Relies on a Neutral Third Part(ies) to Determine the outcome to a dispute.
Like mediation, arbitration utilizes a neutral third party, called the Arbitrator, to resolve the conflict between the parties outside of a courtroom. However, unlike mediation, the Arbitrator serves as a private judge to listen to the evidence and make rulings to determine the outcome of the dispute.
Rules of procedure and evidence may apply to some degree in these proceedings. In arbitration, the private judge is in control of the process and the outcome, whereas in mediation, the disputing parties maintain control and have a direct role in fashioning the solution to the dispute. Most Arbitrators will be flexible and work around the schedules and needs of the parties, unlike court proceedings. And although arbitration is usually less formal than a courtroom trial, there will be a set of procedures that will apply to both sides as they prepare for the hearing.
In most cases, the award of the Arbitrator is final and binding on both sides. The opportunity to appeal after a binding arbitration is very limited.
Are you fighting someone seriously enough that you think a lawsuit may result?
Over 95% of lawsuits settle before trial, because juries can be wildly unpredictable, and the cost of pursuit of trial is extremely steep.
As a litigator, my first phone call is to opposing counsel to see if we can settle
the dispute before filing suit, or before getting too far down the road, since you will be required to mediate the case before trial anyway. So why not do it first, saving yourself and your clients’ time, expense, and grief.
It does not have to be binding, and if it is unsuccessful, you will at least have learned a lot about the case’s strengths and weaknesses before taking it before a Judge and Jury.
The stakes are high when you are between pre-trial dispositive motions and an imminent trial date. Whether you are mediating a case under court order, voluntarily, or to test the strength of your case versus your opponent’s, your matter will be treated with the gravity and attention of a judicial proceeding.
I request substantive briefing supported by evidence, and will treat the mediation as if the rules of procedure and evidence apply, unless otherwise requested.
The ultimate goal will be a complete resolution of the dispute and a binding settlement agreement. In the rare instances when that is not possible, a mediation can narrow the disputed issues and shed fresh light on old facts.
Just believe you don’t think you are headed to court doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of mediation services. Or, what if you want to go to court but you are on the verge of giving up because litigation costs so much more than the issue in dispute? You don’t need to resign yourself to accepting the wrong and letting it fester for all time.
Lisa Pittman has a psychology degree and has been working in litigation since 1993—she knows a thing or two about conflict. Whatever that conflict might be, whether it is interpersonal, friction between two entities, two neighbors, shared owners of real estate—whatever it may be, there is immense value in working that conflict out and dispensing with it. A mediation can propose solutions or new ways of looking at or handling things, and it can also fully and finally settle a monetary dispute without ever having to retain a lawyer or file a lawsuit, if the dispute is a legal one.