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Litigation is a necessary component of our judicial system, and our litigation team is here to help. Sometimes a case must go to a jury or an elected or appointed judge to be resolved. Frequently, however, the full litigation process can be averted using one or more forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Mediation is one form of ADR and is often an effective tool to reduce the uncertainty, expense, and time involved in litigation. The North Carolina state and federal courts have long found mediation to be so effective that nearly every civil lawsuit worth over $25,000.00 filed in the state is required to be sent through the mediation process. North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission Certified Mediator, John Bircher, has over two decades of litigation experience enabling him to help parties reach a mutual agreement without going through the full court process. Our mediators can also assist in resolving disputes even before a formal complaint is filed in court, and in reviewing and analyzing cases as a neutral, third-party.
Particularly in the employment law context, investigations are a crucial component of effective litigation avoidance. More importantly, a proper investigation can make workplaces better and safer. Under certain federal and state laws, like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, covered employers are obligated to conduct investigations into allegations of harassment in the workplace based on protected categories like sex, race, national origin, and others. Sometimes those investigations can be handled in-house or by the company’s outside counsel. Other times, the best course of action is to seek assistance from a lawyer who serves as a third-party neutral investigator to review all the evidence, meet with witnesses, and consider the facts learned in conjunction with the law to provide results. If the company later gets sued, the properly qualified investigator can serve as an expert witness at trial, telling the jury and the judge, from a third-party, neutral perspective, all the careful steps the company took to avoid and eliminate harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Our team is equipped to handle these types of investigations and others, both involving workplace issues and many other types of disputes.
Arbitration is when a matter is resolved outside of court by an individual or panel of individuals who make final decisions. Instead of going through the slow and often frustrating trial and appeals process, arbitration moves cases along more efficiently and quickly. Arbitrations vary from matter to matter, but, generally, both sides put on their cases to the arbitrator(s), who then weigh all the evidence, apply the law of the case, and make a final determination on the merits of the matter. Our ADR team is equipped to handle arbitrations and help parties focus on running their businesses and lives, instead of spending valuable resources waiting on the court process.