When a small business owner in Tennessee has a legal dispute, it doesn't always mean the situation will go through an expensive, full-blown trial. Alternatives to traditional litigation exist, such as arbitration and small claims court. These alternatives may be appealing to small business owners, as they often serve as a means to resolve a legal dispute in a relatively quick and less costly manner.
Through arbitration, each side to the dispute will argue their case before an arbitrator, who will then make a decision. However, arbitration is much more informal than a trial. For example, the formal rules of evidence are not applicable in arbitration, and there is no jury. Unless the parties have a contract that says otherwise, the arbitrator's decision is not final and binding. However, once the there is an arbitration award, the contract can include language to make it binding.
Also, small businesses may benefit from resolving their dispute in small claims court. The parties cannot have legal representation until a decision is appealed. In general, a case will go before a small claims court in around 30 days. There is also a cap on how much a person can sue for in small claims court.
As this shows, small business owners with a legal dispute do not necessarily have to go through the time and expense of traditional litigation. This is important, as such expenses can affect a business's bottom line. While traditional litigation may be the most appropriate choice in certain circumstances, it is good to know that alternatives exist that may help small business owners resolve their legal disputes in a way that they feel is best for their business.