It is often said there are no real winners when a case goes to trial. Even if you, as a defendant, prevail, you likely have spent thousands preparing and presenting your defense. While there are situations in which taking a case to the courtroom is necessary to achieve a just result, defendants are increasingly looking to alternative dispute resolution methods, such as arbitration and mediation, to fairly resolve legal controversies without the expense of a trial.
While mediation is often regarded as a plaintiff’s tool, there are also several reasons why defendants should consider it, including:
- Mediation is faster and less expensive than the typical judicial process. This is a benefit to both plaintiffs and defendants.
- Mediation allows privacy for cases that involve sensitive information or that could be damaging to the defendant’s public image.
- In controversies involving highly technical subject matter, mediation allows the parties to select a neutral party who has a background in the disputed material. This can be preferable to a randomly assigned judge who may not fully understand the technical aspects of the case.
- Mediation tends to be less adversarial, making it more likely that the parties’ existing business relationship can be preserved.
Mediation is particularly appropriate in cases in which the plaintiff’s legal claim is meritorious but its value is subject to dispute. However, this does not necessarily mean it cannot be useful in cases in which the underlying facts are somewhat in question. While mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution may not be advantageous to civil defendants in all situations, it is usually good to consult a New York civil defense lawyer who has ADR experience and is willing to consider it as an option.