Not all disputes between aggrieved parties need to be settled through civil litigation. Arbitration, mediation, and engineering master hearings are other ways that parties in disagreement over technical elements of laws, regulations, contracts, or personal/institutional actions can often resolve differences without going to court. This class of procedures is generally referred to as alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Arbitration is a procedure wherein the parties involved in a dispute present their case to one or more arbitrators who make a binding decision about the dispute. When entering the arbitration process, the parties agree beforehand that the arbitration decision will be final.
Mediation has the parties present their arguments to a mediator who will then assist the parties in negotiating a mutually agreeable resolution to the issues in conflict. In mediation cases, the mediator aids the parties in coming to an agreement. The mediator does not render a binding decision on the matter, and the parties are free to pursue others means to resolve the situation beyond the mediation session(s) if an agreeable decision cannot be reached.
In many states, when a technical element of a dispute in a regulatory or local ordinance matter is beyond the expertise of the agency, board, or other organization with oversight on the matter, an engineering master can be appointed as an advisor to the convening organization to offer third party expert advice beyond what may have been presented by experts appearing on behalf of the parties involved. The appointed master will report back to the agency or board regarding opinions on the matter, and the organization will use that information to render a final decision.
Members of our staff have knowledge and relevant experience related to ADR, and they can serve as arbitrators, mediators, or engineering masters in a wide variety of dispute resolution matters. Further, these same staff members are capable of providing expert client representation in matters before arbitration boards, mediators, or other hearing officers who function outside of a courtroom.
At Kittelson LLC, we have nationally recognized experts in the transportation engineering field with experience as mediators in cases involving various types of engineering issues and have represented clients in hearings. If you have questions about Alternative Dispute Resolution, or need representation, please contact Dr. Martin Pietrucha at (979) 693-5800.