Florida Business Mediation

Florida Business Mediation

Florida Business Mediation

Each year, thousands of Florida small businesses operate commercial locations, enter into contracts, and engage in various other activities that involve other parties. Sometimes customers, employees, and other parties will have disagreements with a business that escalate to becoming legal disputes. One way for parties in this situation to resolve their issues (and avoid litigation) is by using Florida business mediation.

Florida Business Legal Disputes

According to recent statistics, 90% of all businesses will experience a lawsuit at some point in their existence. Further, over 75% of small business owners are concerned that they’ll be targeted for a lawsuit. In addition, 43% of all small businesses are threatened with a lawsuit every year, and approximately 45% are currently involved in litigation. On average, a liability suit will cost a business approximately $54,000. However, depending on the facts, the costs of a Florida business lawsuit can be much higher.

Florida Business Litigation Options

When a Florida business is involved in a legal dispute, the matter can be resolved in multiple ways. One available option is for the parties to go through litigation. Another is to submit to arbitration. The parties can also choose to participate in mediation.

Litigation—Going to court is generally considered a last resort when parties can’t resolve their issues. Not only is it expensive, but it also takes control away from the parties. Neither party can control the outcome if a court decides on an issue.

Arbitration—Submitting to arbitration involves allowing another to rule on the matter during a process that is similar to litigation.

Mediation—By Mediation provides business parties the freedom and flexibility to resolve their conflict without going through a formal proceeding.

What is Business Mediation?

Florida business mediation is a process that allows parties to a dispute to work with a specially-trained mediator to clarify and resolve their issues. Mediation is governed by Florida law. The mediator is a neutral third party who is there to listen to both sides and attempt to help facilitate an agreement. This individual will often be a lawyer or retired judge with experience in Florida business law.

How Does Mediation Work?

Parties can agree to mediate before their disagreement escalates to a lawsuit being filed. The process can also be used once a case has been initiated. Mediation can be arranged either voluntarily or by court order.

A business dispute mediation typically involves the following steps and stages:

  • The parties will agree upon a mediator and a location and date to mediate.
  • Next, both sides will have an opportunity to prepare a mediation summary for the mediator to review. The mediation summary is a confidential document that is used to give the mediator each side’s perspective and position regarding the matter at issue.
  • On the date of mediation, both parties and their attorneys will usually meet in a shared space where the mediator will explain the process. The attorneys may choose to make brief opening remarks regarding their client’s respective positions at that time.
  • Next, the parties will go to separate rooms where the mediator can meet with them privately. What is said to the mediator during these private meetings will remain confidential unless the parties give the mediator permission to disclose information.
  • The mediator will go between the rooms and attempt to help the parties reach a resolution.
  •  If there is an agreement, the parties will sign a mediated settlement agreement that includes their settled terms.

Do Parties Have to Settle in Mediation?

When litigants or other parties enter into mediation, they are expected to mediate in good faith. Mediating in good faith does not mean they are obligated to settle their disputed issues, however. If an agreement cannot be reached, the parties are free to walk away and pursue the matter further.

Is Florida Business Mediation Confidential?

Florida business mediation is a confidential process by law. This means what the parties say and do during mediation cannot be used against them in court. Likewise, what is said in confidence to the mediator will not be disclosed.

Benefits of Business Mediation

In some circumstances, Florida business mediation can be a beneficial process. By working with a trained mediator, parties may be able to clarify their disputed issues and identify workable solutions. In addition, unlike litigation, mediation allows the parties to craft an agreement that is tailored to their unique requirements and preferences. By contrast, litigation is limited to specific outcomes.

Florida business mediation can be an effective way to resolve conflict without having to resort to litigation. However, it’s important to recognize that the process requires the same knowledge and preparation as going to trial. The best way to ensure you are ready for and can make effective use of the mediation process is by working with an experienced Florida business lawyer.

Contact an Experienced Florida Business Lawyer

Attorney Richard Sierra at the Florida Small Business Legal Center assists clients like you with commercial leasing, business, and litigation matters. As always, Our Goal Is to Help You Succeed™. For an appointment, call us at 1-866-842-5202 or use the contact form on our website. We represent clients throughout the State of Florida, including Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Deerfield Beach, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Orlando, Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Tampa, and surrounding communities.

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