Arbitration

FITCH has represented clients in a wide array of complex litigation cases for over thirty years. Litigation has proven to be a fair and effective — and sometimes inevitable — means for resolving serious disputes. However, the costs and uncertainties of litigation and the desire to maintain business relationships, among other factors, have caused individuals and businesses to choose arbitration as a preferred alternative.

How do parties choose arbitration as opposed to a court case for their dispute resolution procedure? Most commonly, the arbitration agreement is included as the dispute resolution clause in commercial, technology, patent, intellectual property, biotechnology and medical device manufacturing, partnership, limited liability corporation, joint venture, investment, securities, fiduciary, construction, insurance, real estate, employment, and other agreements.

Why do parties decide to include arbitration agreements in the dispute resolution clauses of agreements? There are a variety of advantages to arbitration. In our experience, arbitration leads to a much faster resolution than courtroom procedures. The schedule for an arbitration is set at the first preliminary hearing — and that schedule usually includes a timetable for the exchange of information, the submission of briefs, exhibits, expert reports, other prehearing materials and, most importantly, the number of days and dates of the arbitration merits hearing.

We have found that the cost of arbitration is less than the cost of court proceedings. The relative speed of arbitration and the fact that, generally, discovery is limited are key cost-saving measures. Arbitration may also result in savings because of the certainty of the hearing schedule and the ability of executives and expert witnesses to plan their schedules accordingly. Most trial lawyers appreciate how changes and uncertainties in a trial date may disrupt the business schedules of executives and experts — and ultimately raise the expenses.

Parties also elect to use arbitration because of the finality of the procedure. Under both state and federal laws, there are very limited grounds for vacatur or the setting aside of an arbitral award. The elimination of any appeal is a factor that alone may save years in reaching a final resolution.

Finally, in cases involving cross-border disputes, international arbitration has the critical advantage of the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards by over 150 countries that are signatories to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Parties will often encounter serious problems when they seek to have a state or federal court judgment enforced by a foreign court. The enforcement of an international arbitral award rendered in the United States is comparatively easier, though not always without difficulties.

The lawyers at FITCH are highly seasoned advocates in international and domestic arbitrations. The cases with which the firm has been involved include high stakes commercial, business, employment, construction and securities disputes. These arbitrations are conducted under the auspices or rules of the American Arbitration Association, the International Center for Dispute Resolution, UNCITRAL, ICC, or through ad hoc processes.

Arbitration Case Results

- Technology Supply And Patent Agreements

We recovered $18.25 million in lost profits for our client in a breach of contract case; we successfully defended a technology company against claims for breach of contract brought by its licensor and supplier of telematics products.

- Partnership Disputes

Our client prevailed at a binding arbitration of a multifaceted dispute with fellow partners and in obtaining summary judgment in which the court upheld the arbitrator's award against the adversary partners' intensive efforts to have the court vacate it; we obtained a favorable settlement for a prominent law firm in a contract dispute with a partner who had been terminated before the merits hearing in the arbitration commenced.

- Construction

We obtained an arbitral award for our client, a prominent custom home builder on Nantucket, in which the arbitrator found that there was no merit to the claimant's multi-million dollar claims for contract and tort damages; we also successfully represented the interests of a corporation in an arbitration involving construction defects.

- Commercial Real Estate Lease

We represented the owner of a large commercial office building in an arbitration with one of its tenants and obtained a favorable award.

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