Businesses of all sizes and structures are exposed to the threat of disputes from customers, other companies, vendors, business partners, and employees. Issues that arise over the course of a company’s lifetime can have devastating effects on profits due to the legal costs necessitated by conflicts in commercial litigation. In recent years, however, alternatives to litigation have come to the surface as more businesses realize the positive impact they can have for the short- and long-term.
Mediation is a popular option for business owners in Wisconsin wishing to resolve a business dispute. The process of mediation is far less daunting than that of litigation or negotiation, and can be more cost-effective than settling the issue in court. However, based on the following Wisconsin business guidelines, not every conflict is best suited for mediation either.
Civil Cases Only
Generally speaking, only civil cases can be resolved through mediation in Wisconsin, including certain disputes involving:
- Contracts among business partners, employees, contractors, or vendors
- Leases or landlord/tenant issues
- Small business ownership issues
- Employment concerns
- Other business agreements
In some cases, mediation may be used to resolve conflicts in certain nonviolent criminal matters, including verbal or personal harassment charges against or involving a specific company or business owner. Businesses involved in disputes that fall under these categories are able to take advantage of mediation over commercial litigation or negation if they deem it appropriate to do so. However, businesses that expect a large settlement or want to assign guilt or blame are often not the best candidates for mediation. The mediation process relies more on collaboration and compromise than it does settlements and admissions, leaving litigation as the final solution.
Businesses in Wisconsin that agree to resolve a dispute or conflict through mediation follow a simple path. First, a third party is hired to act as a neutral mediator, either through a community-based mediation service, a private mediation service, or a business litigation firm with attorneys who also act as mediators. In any of these selections, both parties involved in the dispute are responsible for the cost of the mediator service, as opposed to each paying for a commercial litigation attorney on their own.
In the majority of mediation sessions, the mediator facilitates discussion between the business and the other party in an effort to come to a resolution or an agreeable settlement. The mediation process typically last a few hours, compared to the days or months of commercial litigation. At the end of a mediation session, when a resolution has been reached and agreed upon by all parties, each party leaves with a signed agreement that can be made enforceable by the court.
Business and Commercial Attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin | Kerkman Wagner & Dunn
At Kerkman Wagner & Dunn, we understand how common disputes are in the business world. Our experienced and knowledgeable team of attorneys work directly with business clients to ensure their disputes are handled in an intelligent, responsible way. While some business disputes are better resolved through mediation, others can only be handled through expert litigation. If you have questions regarding a business dispute and your options for mediation or litigation, do not hesitate to contact us today.