As a Minnesota litigation attorney, I offer these tips to people considering suing someone. If you are considering a lawsuit (litigation), the cost and other options to resolve disputes may be worth examining.
Lawsuits are often very expensive. In litigation, the goal is to beat the other side rather than work out a win/win solution, so the emotions can become increasingly bitter and relationships can become hostile, especially when the opponent is/was a member of your family or close friend. In addition to the financial expense, lawsuits can last a long time, consuming your attention, wasting your time, and increasing your anxiety. For these reasons, you should consider well whether litigation is your best option.
If you’re considering a lawsuit, consider whether the time and expense are worthwhile. That is, what is your return on investment (ROI) if you invest your time and money in a lawsuit? If the defendant doesn’t have money or substantial assets, you may never collect on your judgment even if you win the case. This means you will have spent time and money without any return on your investment. Although extremely frustrating, many people determine that they should set their emotions aside, use their objective judgment, and move on rather than filing a lawsuit against a defendant who will never pay anyway.
If you can’t ignore the dispute, you might consider some alternatives to filing a lawsuit. Mediation and arbitration are more expensive than conciliation Court but far cheaper than a full lawsuit in Minnesota State District Court or Federal District Court. Mediation and arbitration are often called alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Mediation involves hiring a professional mediator to meet with both sides during a day in an attempt to negotiate a resolution agreed by both sides. The focus of mediation is problem-solving and finding some middle ground so both parties can resolve their differences and move on without an expensive legal battle. If the parties do not come to an agreement by the end of mediation, they remain in the same position they were before mediation, with an unresolved dispute.
Arbitration involves hiring a professional arbitrator to decide your case, similar to that of a judge, without the full expense and complexity of a lawsuit. The focus of arbitration is proving your case to an arbitrator who will make a final decision on your case. With arbitration, you give up the rights and expenses of a trial and have certainty that your case will be over when the arbitration is done.