Ask someone to picture lawyers resolving a dispute, and they likely envision a wood-paneled courtroom with a judge banging a gavel, a shocked jury, and a lot of drama. Or perhaps they imagine a bright, sleek conference room with a shiny long table and people in Armani suits arguing passionately for their respective clients. But no one really thinks of arbitration… and many don’t know what it is.
Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and a way to resolve disputes outside the courtroom. During arbitration, an impartial third party known as an arbitrator hears evidence and arguments in a dispute between parties, then makes a decision. The decision results in a binding “arbitration award” to the winner. (Other forms of ADR, such as mediation, are non-binding, but nevertheless effective at resolving disputes without resorting to litigation.) Sometimes, ADR is the best choice for a client when there is an opportunity to move beyond an impasse and resolve matters more quickly than in the courtroom or board room. Other times, it may be mandated by an agreement between the parties.
CMM recently prevailed in an arbitration proceeding on behalf of our client, a Long Island custom home construction management company. Our client had an agreement to provide construction management services for a significant $2 million renovation at a residence in Suffolk County. The corporate homeowner failed to pay our client the full construction management fee, claiming that they were entitled to offsets due to alleged damages and defective work/supervision.
While conflict resolution is never easy, CMM’s Jeffrey Basso prevailed after a four-day arbitration hearing and multiple witnesses spanning several months of investigation and discovery along with submission of post-hearing briefs. With careful preparation in advance of the hearing, Basso refuted the allegations made by the corporate homeowners by strategically presenting credible and convincing witnesses during the hearing that substantiated the work performed by our client. The arbitrator granted our client a significant arbitration award, as well as attorneys’ fees and the dismissal of all counterclaims. CMM has a proven track record of success with ADR, including arbitration, and views ADR as a critical tool to resolve matters reasonably. Please contact us to discuss the best avenues available to resolve your business dispute.