Lawsuits explained – Part 6 of 8
In our examination of the three basic component parts of a business lawsuit in Florida we have analyzed the pleadings phase and the discovery phases. The pleadings phase is essentially where the parties put their cards on the table so to speak and define what the dispute is about. The discovery phase is where the parties exchange and obtain information and take depositions to both verify their claims and to disclose to the other what their claims are based upon.
We now proceed to the third phase in a business lawsuit in Florida, which is the conclusion or resolution of the dispute in some form or another. Most commonly thought of is the trial, but before that can occur the parties must mediate, which can often lead to a settlement. Therefore, the first possibilities we will examine are settlement and mediation.
How do lawsuits commonly end
To review, some of the ways that a lawsuit can conclude are direct settlement, settlement through mediation, or procedural methods like summary judgment. Those can actually occur in the first two phases of the lawsuit. But a trial either in front of a judge or a jury occurs primarily in this third phase. There are the unique situations where a case can be split in half or bifurcated and part of it tried earlier before additional discovery might be conducted or variants of trials like summary trials employed, but generally the trial occurs in the third and final phase.
As to direct settlement, nothing prevents a party in a lawsuit from settling their dispute or from suggesting a settlement to the other side at any time. Business lawsuits are fundamentally business disputes and are thus capable of being resolved by business people in a business-like fashion. Sometimes, however, it takes one side or the other some time to come to that realization or they do not get to that point and the dispute is decided by a judge or jury. But, whether or when to suggest a settlement is a tactical decision that should be made in concert with your attorney as there are implications to the overall dispute. Likewise, certain provisions should be addressed and accommodated in any settlement agreement, which is where having an experienced attorney representing you becomes of tremendous benefit.
Mediation is a private meeting between the parties either by their agreement or by court order with a mediator they choose. Florida was the pioneer in this area of alternative dispute resolution in the early 1990's and now has some very accomplished and skilled mediators. Mediation can actually occur as many times as the parties desire by their agreement, but it usually must occur at least one time before a judge will allow a case to proceed to trial. You and your lawyer should perform due diligence on any mediator that will assist you in solving the dispute to be sure you choose the right person for the job. Through the scores of mediations in which David Steinfeld has represented client, he has worked with many seasoned mediators and can guide you or your business in selecting appropriate mediators for your situation.
The Palm Beach Business Lawyer Blog
Board Certified expert in Florida business law, David Steinfeld has almost 25 years legal experience.