Q: What are the biggest drawbacks to choosing to do arbitration rather than filing a lawsuit?
A: If there is an option rather than some mandatory requirement of a contract to arbitrate, filing a lawsuit has advantages in that the process would be before a court and/or a jury. On the other hand, arbitration may be more expedient and less expensive except that it may or may not be binding and even if it is binding and you win, the defendant may not pay. If you file in court and prevail, then you have a judgment to execute which would be better in that case.
A: I handle arbitrations in New York and do not practice in Florida, so I can't give state-specific commentary as to Florida. In general, the arbitration process is praised for its ability to streamline adjudication of a matter with less formality that traditional litigation. Therefore, it could lead to more economical and expedient outcomes. However, with that streamlining, the process could involve a loosening of the formalities of the rules of evidence. Some parties may not want this. Also, the arbitration process does not involve a jury, which could be viewed as negative if a party prefers a traditional court route with jury.
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