Tesser Ryan Blog

Resolving Disputes in the Time of Social Distancing

COVID-19 has hit our society hard. It is a health crisis and has thrown us into economic turmoil. Businesses are struggling to pay employees, tenants can’t pay their landlords, workers are being laid off, essential industry staff are being underpaid and are putting themselves in harm’s way. While many have worked together to make ends meet, some conflicts have been unavoidable. There may be existing disputes that haven’t gone away despite the pandemic. On Sunday March 22, The Chief Administrative Judge of the New York State Court System issued an administrative order halting virtually all non-essential court activity, and many other courts and law firms are following suit. With all of these factors, it can be difficult to figure out how to get such disputes resolved, and even know where to start.

Fortunately, it is still possible to resolve disputes while accounting for social distancing, in some cases without involving the courts. Once known as “Alternative Dispute Resolution”, ADR is now becoming known as “Appropriate Dispute Resolution” because it can be more efficient and effective as litigation, and may be better suited to the resolution of certain conflicts than litigation is.  ADR includes negotiation between the two parties (and, in some cases, their attorneys), negotiation between the parties with a neutral third-party mediator facilitating the discussion, or where a neutral third-party arbitrator decides the result.

ADR is growing in popularity because it is typically cheaper and more effective than litigation. Over 90% of court cases end up either settled or dismissed, after the litigants have already spent thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands on a case. Studies show that parties are happier with the results of mediation, and are more likely to adhere to the terms. ADR can be particularly convenient nowadays because it can be fashioned to not require court appearances, or any in person interaction at all. Since it is all by the agreement of the parties, a negotiation, mediation, or arbitration can be arranged to take practically any form.

Unresolved disputes can weigh on you and distract from more important matters. You don’t have to wait. The attorneys at Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP have been resolving business disputes for decades, both by representing parties to conflicts and by acting as neutral mediators or arbitrators. Call us if you would like to learn more about ADR, or to discuss your matter.