What are the benefits of arbitration?
[ Confidentiality. Arbitration is a private process. There is
no public record of the proceedings.
[ Limited Discovery. Extensive discovery is avoided.
[ Arbitrators arrange for limited exchange of documents, witness lists, and depositions appropriate to the particular dispute.
[ Speed. There is no docket or backlog in arbitration.
Hearings are scheduled as soon as the parties and the arbitrator have dates available.
[ Expert Neutrals. The arbitrators have expertise in the subject matter in dispute, as well as training in the arbitration process.
[ Cost Savings. Because of the limited discovery and informal hearing procedures, as well as the expedited nature of the process, the parties save on legal fees and transactional costs.
[ Preservation of Business Relationships. In most instances, litigation between professionals and their clients destroys the working relationship. Arbitration is less adversarial and, because of its informal nature, it is more likely that the parties will be able to continue their business relationship.
[ Parties may arbitrate disputes either by inserting a future-disputes clause into a contract or by submitting an existing dispute to arbitration
Cost of Arbitration can Sometimes be Higher
To deter frivolous complaints, the cost of arbitration can sometimes be significantly higher than court fees, making it financially impossible for some consumers to seek relief. However in the case of Williams v. Aetna Finance (83 Ohio St. 3d 464; 700 N.E. 2d 859, ll/4/98), the Supreme Court of Ohio struck down a clause which required a consumer to pay large fees simply to advance a case to arbitration. Citing a 1993 decision against ITT Finance Co., the court stated that “[i]n a dispute over a loan of $2,000 it would scarcely make sense to spend a minimum of $850 just to obtain a participatory hearing.” The Williams case involved a “pitchman” who was paid referral fees to bring homeowners to a finance company for expensive home equity loans.
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