Commercial disputes arise in many contexts.
Buyers and sellers of goods. What was promised to be delivered? What was actually received? Were expectations met? What’s written down and what isn’t? Were there last minute changes to the orders? Have the parties done business together in the past? Can they continue to do so in the future?
Construction matters. Construction sites require enormous attention to detail and coordination. Relations between contractors, subs, architects, engineers, and developers can be difficult to manage. Dealing with governmental agencies and insurance companies may only compound the potential problems. Sometimes neighbors or neighborhood interests become a problem. Even if litigation has started, work may need to continue and new jobs may need attention.
Construction may already be behind schedule, change orders may be piling up, or not adequately addressed, the subcontractor’s work isn’t what was ordered, or not meeting quality standards, or the general contractor said one thing and then did another. The developer isn’t paying timely. Or at all.
Sales of a business. Like the sale of goods, the sale of a business can be filled with risks and sometimes there can be unintended consequences for the seller or the buyer. Sales or revenues may not be what as anticipated. Loans may be due. Who needs to bear what costs? Can something be worked out to preserve the deal?
Landlord/Tenant. Landlord Tenant disputes can arise in commercial or residential properties. A tenant may be in arrears or using property in a manner not agreed upon. You want them out. A tenant may feel that agreed upon services aren’t being provided. What are you paying rent for? Changing economic conditions may make paying the agreed upon rent impractical, but it could be in the landlord’s and the tenant’s best interests to keep the leasehold intact.
Mediated Solutions. What all these disputes have in common is that litigating a resolution can be expensive, time consuming and not necessarily beneficial in the short or long run. Commercial mediation typically takes place with the assistance of counsel for each side, though it can, when appropriate, also provide for conversation directly between the parties so that solutions that work from a business standpoint can be developed.
In commercial litigation, there are typically “winners” and “losers.” With the stakes defined so rigidly, no one’s willing to budge at the risk of appearing weak. Rarely can judges create nuanced solutions that might work, and even winners may face the time and cost of lengthy and unpredictable appeals.
However, mediation allows for creative solutions that can break seemingly intractable stalemates. Parties can develop ideas in a confidential setting and choose whether to share them with the other party. While far more compressed than the litigation process, mediation allows the parties time for ideas to germinate in a way that they cannot through the confines of litigation.
Possible resolutions can include:
- A compromise involving money, future deals, or anything else.
- The terms of an ongoing relationship, i.e. for landlords and tenants, or people who would still like to do business.
- New construction schedules and guidelines, new decision-making procedures.
- Intangibles, such as appreciation, gratitude, friendship, an apology.
- Anything else that you’d like–and need–to address.
Disputes get resolved quicker, less painfully, and less expensively. And they might even open the door to something new.
To learn more, schedule a commercial mediation consultation