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Traditional Mediation: Most civil lawsuits get "referred to mediation" by the court. Mediation is a formalized negotiation process in which the parties pay a mediator an hourly fee to help them try to settle their case. Typically a mediation is a minimum of 2-4 hours. If both sides have lawyers that means, between the two parties, mediation can cost $900/hour or more.
Traditional Arbitration: This is when the parties pay a private arbitrator to act as their judge. Again, the arbitrator is paid hourly and, while the process can be streamlined, there is typically still a discovery process and a formal hearing. The arbitrator makes a decision, just like a judge, and depending on the parties' agreement, that decision can be turned into a judgment.
Traditional Litigation: Going to court. This is the typical process that begins with the filing of a complaint in court. Between filing fees, clerk of court fees, and process server fees, it can cost around $500 to just start a case. Then the parties conduct discovery for several months, sometimes years, and eventually settle or go to trial. As mentioned above, the court usually requires parties to mediate before trial.
With DROP IT the decision-maker leads the process and you pay a flat fee rather than by the hour. Because the decision-maker leads the process, no time is wasted on discovery (document exchanges and depositions). Also, DROP IT is customizable - if you want the decision to be binding, it can be. If you would rather the process be more like a negotiation than a trial, it can be. If you want to try both, you can do that too. Finally, DROP IT avoids all of those evidentiary rules that seem to just stand in the way of telling the whole story. Your DROP IT Neutral hears and sees everything you think they should, and they weigh all the evidence - with nothing excluded - based on their assessment of its credibility and importance. Just like a judge pr jury would if all the evidence was admissible.
1. Your case is assigned to a Neutral.
2. All parties have to agree to the terms and procedures (these are customizable) and pay the flat fee.
3. Each party will receive a questionnaire and a request to submit the documents they believe are relevant within 14 days (unless all parties agree otherwise).
4. The Neutral will review all submissions and decide if there are additional documents or evidence they think should be submitted.
5. The Neutral will hold a video conference with all parties to ask additional questions and discuss next steps.
6. The Neutral will follow the procedure selected by the parties which will likely include (a) providing an informal assessment of the case; (b) conducting a settlement conference to attempt to resolve the dispute; and/or (c) providing a formal writeen "award" which determines liability.
7. THE END! If the parties are satisfied with the DROP IT result, the dispute is over and you move on with your life. If either party decides they want to go to court or formal arbitration, they are free to do that.
If only one party is willing to DROP IT the process will not work. We recommend retaining your own lawyer in your area. If you are in Florida, we provide traditional legal representation and referrals through Three Thirteen Law, PLLC.
If you are a represented party and would like to explore alternative dispute resolution with your lawyer, we provide traditional mediation and arbitration services through Three Thirteen Law, PLLC.