Trusted Counsel And Legal Representation Since 1973

Trends In Dispute Resolution

At Duncan, Holland & Fleenor, P.C., we have seen a shift toward alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms in recent years. Arbitration and mediation provide cost-effective and less adversarial paths to resolving business, family law and other civil litigation matters.

The advantages of resolving disputes outside of the courtroom include:

  • Timeliness: In most cases, disputing parties agree to their own meeting schedule to discuss issues
  • Control: Disputing parties will have a voice in creating a satisfactory settlement agreement
  • Efficiency: The cost of mediation is typically less than going in front of a courtroom judge
  • Privacy: Discussions in mediation are held in the strictest confidence

ADR can also mitigate the overall stress factor in resolving contentious misunderstandings.

Our team at Duncan, Holland & Fleenor, P.C., frequently engages in various forms of alternative dispute resolution, including judicial and nonjudicial mediation and arbitration. Frequent areas of mediation and arbitration include working out construction and other real estate problems, divorce battles, child custody arguments, probate and business litigation.

Rule 31 Mediations And Rule 31 Mediators

Rule 31 Mediation is a voluntary and private process where a qualified mediator helps people in a disagreement find a solution they all agree on. This is useful for civil cases or conflicts, as long as the mediator and disputing parties agree to follow Rule 31’s guidelines.

The mediator doesn’t make decisions but guides the conversation to help resolve issues, whether they are part of a lawsuit or a dispute that has gone to court. This method is favored for its ability to produce agreeable outcomes for everyone, without having to battle it out in a trial.

When a court orders Rule 31 Mediation, the parties have 15 days to inform the court who their mediator is or if they cannot agree on one. If the parties cannot decide on a mediator, the court will step in. The court has a list of qualified mediators, and it will offer the names of three mediators to choose from. For mediations that require more than one mediator, the court will provide three options per mediator slot.

If the court needs to choose a mediator, each party gets to remove one name from the list of potential mediators. The ones left are subject to appointment unless someone objects within 10 days and the court accepts the objection. If the selected mediator cannot serve or if the objection is valid, the selection process is redone.

Sometimes, a case may need a mediator with specific skills, and the court will choose accordingly. When parties agree to mediate without a court order, they pick their own mediator. The Administrative Office of the Courts keeps a public list of mediators, their qualifications, and contact details on its website.

Attorney Adam U. Holland, our firm’s certified Rule 31 mediator, is on that list. Adam has many years of experience resolving heated feuds against litigious opposing counsel for a wide range of problems in state and federal courts throughout Tennessee and Georgia. He has taken the time to train and abide by the ethics and obligations, including continuing education requirements, to become a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 mediator. If you have an interest in mediation or are subject to a court order for mediation, contact Adam. He could be your mediator or just help you understand the guidelines to proceed.

Find Out If ADR Is Right For Your Situation

Call Duncan, Holland & Fleenor, P.C., in Chattanooga at 423-635-7147 or send us an email to schedule a meeting to discuss your legal needs.