Alternative Dispute Resolution in Texas
lawsuit can be lengthy and stressful for both parties involved in a dispute. It
can also be very expensive and in many cases, it is a no-win situation.
Recognizing this reality, the state of Texas has legislated Alternative Dispute
Dispute Resolutions will give two parties a venue to settle their dispute
without the hassle and cost of full litigation. The basis for Alternative
Dispute Resolution is the Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1987.
This act has made it public policy to pursue settlement before going to trial.
are different methods of resolve disputes under the law, as practiced in the
district of Southern Texas:
Neutral Evaluation involves a private meeting of both parties and their
attorneys along with a neutral third party.
The attorneys present their positions in the case and the third party
gives a non-binding assessment with regards to the merits of both sides.
most of these meetings, the evaluator is usually in an attorney with expertise
in the issue of dispute. The key here is that his evaluation is not binding,
and oftentimes, he can also provide advice to both sides on how to proceed with
their respective positions. In most early neutral evaluations, a settlement is
is an informal, confidential session between both parties. This can be held
prior or during the litigation proceeding. There will be a third party mediator
agreed upon by both sides. Similar to the evaluator, the mediator can also
point out the strengths and weaknesses of both parties. This can be done in
front of both parties or even individually. As opposed to early neutral
evaluation, the mediator will clearly seek to reach a settlement.
mini-trial is court-based, and this time, the third party consists of persons
with settlement authority. An example of this is a dispute between senior
executives in a company with board members as the third party.
in mediation, both sides and their lawyers will present their cases. A judge or
a person of authority will preside over the proceedings. The end goal is to
present the case to the decision makers who can then make a decision, as this
is still within their jurisdiction.
method involves an actual jury as both sides present summaries of their cases
through their attorneys. It is very much like a trial, but there will not be any
witnesses summoned. Instead, the cases will be presented with exhibits of
evidence. The jury will reach an advisory verdict. The verdict is not binding
in itself, but it could be a starting point for a settlement agreement.
Alternative Dispute Resolution in Texas is now utilized by more citizens so
they can reach settlements faster and in a more amicable manner. It also
alleviates the burden of actual courts.