arbitration Archives - Morris Law Center

Options For Enforcement of Settlement Agreements

Your options are when an agreement isn’t working

What happens when you’ve reached a settlement agreement in your case using alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, yet one of the parties involved isn’t holding up their end of the bargain? You must be thinking “there has to be something that can be done,” and you’d be right. Below are a few options to consider when someone isn’t honoring an agreed upon settlement.

Motion to Enforce Settlement Agreement

If a case has already been filed in Nevada district court, one of the options you can consider is having the court order the other party to honor the agreement. To accomplish this, you would have to file a Motion to Enforce. In Nevada, a settlement agreement is a contract governed by general principles of contract law, and a district court has the authority to enforce a settlement agreement in an existing case where it already has jurisdiction. In order to enforce a settlement agreement, the moving party must show either: (1) a written, signed agreement; or (2) terms entered into the court minutes reduced to an order. If granted, the other party to the settlement must comply with the terms of the agreement. If they do not comply, you could pursue further remedies, such as moving to hold the other party in contempt for not following the court’s order.

Sue for Breach of Settlement Agreement

Another option is to move to add a claim for Breach of Contract (if a suit has already been filed) or to file a Complaint for Breach of Contract. In some cases, suing for a Breach of Contract is an easier case to prove than the facts of the underlying dispute, which could provide an easier route to a favorable judgment.

You might also consider an additional claim for Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. This claim would apply in cases where a party to the settlement made the agreement knowing they would not be able to fulfill their part of the agreement. This claim is meant to ensure that all parties enter into an agreement in good faith to one another and prohibits unfair acts by one party that would work to the disadvantage of the other. This claim might be available even if the court determines there is no breach of the settlement agreement itself, giving additional options for relief.

Proceed with Underlying Case

Another option to weigh is considering moving to set aside the initial agreement and proceed with litigation. This would essentially ignore the settlement agreement and proceed with the original lawsuit. However, litigation options generally come at a greater financial cost than settlement, which is something to consider.

Conclusion

In conclusion, all is not lost if the opposing party doesn’t meet their obligations. You have plenty of options to enforce the agreement, or to move on and continue litigation.

If you need assistance in your settlement agreement, or just have questions, please feel free to contact us at Morris Law Center for your complimentary consult.

And as always, “If you think you might need an attorney, you probably do.”

Mediation vs. Arbitration: What is The Difference?

Some people may mistakenly think that mediation and arbitration are synonymous with one another, and while it’s true there are some similarities between these two processes, the differences are considerable. Both mediation and arbitration utilize a neutral third party to oversee the dispute outside of the court system, and both are alternatives to traditional litigation. In some cases, both mediation and arbitration can be binding on the parties.

In mediation, a single agreed upon mediator is selected to assist in facilitating a discussion between two disputing parties to ultimately come to an agreeable resolution on both sides in a more informal environment.

Arbitration, however, has an agreed upon arbitrator taking on the role of a judge, hearing evidence, making decisions, and issuing opinions. In some arbitration cases, the neutral third party is a panel with both sides of the dispute selecting their preferred arbitrator, then the arbitrators themselves selecting a third to join the panel so a majority vote would prevail if necessary.

While mediation seeks mutual agreement through facilitated discussion between the parties, arbitration imposes rules by the arbitrator making decisions on their behalf. In arbitration, one of both of the parties may end up dissatisfied with that decision of the arbitrator.

In some cases, a judge may order a dispute to go through an alternative dispute resolution before continuing in the courtroom. Alternative dispute resolution generally indicates arbitration or mediation, and can many times lead to an acceptable and agreeable resolution for all involved without the need for time consuming and costly litigation in a formal court setting.

In the Eighth Judicial District Court every contested civil case is reviewed by the Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, with 75% of cases that are assigned to arbitration being successfully resolved. Parties in District Court can bypass assigned arbitration by agreeing to participate in mediation. According to the United States Department of Justice, in 2017 55% of cases were resolved by court-ordered alternative dispute resolution, and 75% of cases were resolved by parties voluntarily seeking alternative dispute resolution.

For more information on Alternative Dispute Resolution in Clark County, CLICK HERE.

So, mediation and arbitration, although having a different procedure, has a similar and fairly successful goal of resolving disputes between parties.

Our Las Vegas estate planning attorneys at Morris Law Center would love to assist answering any questions about your dispute and obtaining a resolution to it. Contact us today to set up your complimentary consult.