Las Vegas Alternative Dispute Resolution Attorney
Being in Litigation can be a very stressful experience. However, it does no not necessarily mean that you are going to trial. In Nevada there are several alternatives to going to trial. The parties can agree to mediation or arbitration in lieu of a trial, or your case may be assigned to mandatory arbitration if the amount in dispute is below a certain value. If the parties fail to resolve their dispute the case may be assigned to the Nevada Short Trial Program. The parties can also voluntarily have their case assigned to the Nevada Short Trial Program. Herein is described some of the Court managed Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs which certain cases are subject to- however, other cases may be subject to private ADR agreements, such as arbitration clauses contained in their contracts, which are strictly enforced by the Courts. Parties may also enter into private trials, in another method to save time and money.
John Henry Wright, founder of The Wright Law Group, has been a court-appointed arbitrator since 2001 and has presided over hundreds of arbitrations. He has also been Short Trial Pro Tempore Judge in Clark County, Nevada, since 2007. As an arbitrator and judge, John is a neutral fact finder and strives to issue rulings that are fair and equitable to the parties concerned and are consistent with the law.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process whereby a neutral third person, called a mediator, acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal process that has the objective of helping the parties to reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decision-making authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving and exploring settlement alternatives.
Mediators are generally attorneys but could also be applicable industry professionals. However, to be a mediator in Court’s mediation program the mediator must be licensed to practice in Nevada and have at least 10 years of civil experience as a practicing attorney or judge A mediator has complete discretion over the conduct of the proceeding.
Under the Court program, after the conclusion of the mediation proceedings the mediator will file a report advising whether the matter was resolved, an impasse has been declared, or that no agreement was reached, or that the matter has been continued. All matters not resolved in mediation may enter the short trial program.
What is a Settlement Conference?
A settlement conference is a meeting between the parties and a neutral third party for the purpose of settling the case. It is conducted, with the approval of the district judge to whom the case is assigned, before another district judge, a special master, referee or other neutral third person. Information shared during a settlement conference is typically not allowed into evidence at trial.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a process whereby a neutral third person, called an arbitrator, considers the facts and arguments presented by the parties and renders a decision, which may be binding or nonbinding on the parties.
The purpose of Arbitration is to provide a simplified procedure for obtaining a prompt and equitable resolution of certain civil matters. Arbitration hearings are intended to be informal and expeditious.
With the exception of divorce, probate and class actions, all civil cases commenced in the district court that have a probable jury award of $50,000 or less per plaintiff are subject to the Court Annexed Arbitration Program (CAAP). In addition, regardless of the amount in controversy, if the parties have agreed in writing to submit their dispute to arbitration the action is subject to the program. This will usually be in the form of a contract provision. Additionally, regardless of the monetary value of the case, if all the parties agree, the case may be submitted to arbitration with the district judge’s approval.
The Arbitration Commissioner selects the arbitrator from a panel of arbitrators consisting of attorneys that are licensed to practice in Nevada. However, the parties may agree to use a private arbitrator who is not on the panel.
Prior to the arbitration each party provides the arbitrator with a pre-hearing statement setting forth that party’s arguments and identifying any witnesses and documents that party intends to rely on. At the hearing, each party presents their arguments, witnesses and evidence. At the end of the arbitration hearing the arbitrator will issue a decision, which is called an “award.” If the parties have agreed to binding arbitration the award will be final. If the parties have not agreed to be bound by the arbitration award any party has the right to request a “trial de novo” within 30 days, so long as they have paid the arbitrator’s fees and costs.
If no party has filed a request for trial de novo within 30 days the prevailing party submits a form of final judgment to the commissioner that is in accordance with the arbitration award, which shall be signed by the district judge and will become a final judgment that cannot be appealed, except for very specific reasons.
If a party requests a trial de novo the case will proceed in the district court as to all parties in the action and shall proceed under the “Short Trial Program.”
Short Trial Program
What is the Short Trial Program?
The purpose of the short trial program is to expedite civil trials through procedures designed to control the length of the trial, including, without limitation, restrictions on discovery, the use of smaller juries and time limits for presentation of evidence. It is mandatory in judicial districts subject to the mandatory arbitration program. Clark County is one of those districts.
In all cases that would otherwise qualify for mandatory CAAP arbitration, the parties may agree to enter the short trial program in lieu of the court annexed arbitration program. Likewise, cases exempt from the court annexed program may, by agreement of all parties, be placed in the short trial program.
The short trial may be presided over by district court judge or a pro tempore judge. The judge can be selected by the parties or the commissioner can appoint the judge from a panel of pro tempore judges that are attorney that have practiced civil law for more than ten years. The trial will normally be held not later than 120 days after the judge is assigned and no continuances will be granted except in cases of extraordinary circumstances.
A party is entitled to a trial by jury. However, the number of jurors will be either 4 or 6. The parties will each have only 3 hours to present their side of the case, including opening and closing statements. A judgment may not exceed $50,000 per plaintiff, exclusive of attorney’s fees, costs and prejudgment interest, unless the parties agree otherwise.
Understanding which process your case will proceed through requires a thorough understanding of the applicable rules. Therefore, it is extremely important that you hire an experienced Las Vegas Attorney to assist you. The Wright Law Group, P.C. has more than 20 years commercial litigation experience and is well equipped to assist you in handling your case. Please call us at 702-405-0001 to schedule a consultation.
In addition, John Henry Wright, the founder of The Wright Law Group, P.C. has been an arbitrator since 2001 and a Short Trial Pro Tempore Judge since 2007. As an arbitrator and judge, John will act as a neutral fact finder and strive to issue rulings that are fair and equitable to the parties concerned and are consistent with the law.