Alternative Dispute Resolution Paper
This paper reviews a business dispute case at the state of Georgia. The case is an Open Records Act dispute involving four employees, Georgia state, and Kia Motors. The Supreme Court of Georgia state has just made a ruling in favor of Kia Motors and the state over a job-training program that a training company, Quick Start, has failed to disclose. In the case, a Georgian company known as Quick Start provides free employee training to foreign companies that are entering Georgia for the first time. Kia Motors, a new company entering Georgia, has chosen to train its employees through Quick Start and utilizes the training program that the company has already developed (Wirth, 2013).
The current lawsuit has been filed by a group of five employees who failed to get a job at Kia plant when the company was hiring new workers in 2008. These employees claim that Kia Motors used a hiring process that completely eliminates union workers when it was starting its operations in Georgia (Rankin, 2013). On September 21, 2011, the four employees filed a case against Quick Start requesting for the records that Kia Motors used in its hiring process. However, Quick Start responded seven days later but it did not provide any record. Three months later, the four plaintiffs filed a case at Fulton County Superior Court against Quick Start and its governor seeking access to its training records. According to the plaintiffs, the training records that they are requesting for are not exempted from disclosure under the Open Records Act (Rankin, 2013).
Barely a few months later, amendments were made to the Open Records Act and a provision was added allowing companies to keep secret all records that may disclose their economic development projects. Another provision was added preventing companies from disclosing records related to training programs, especially when such records are sought in a court case. According to a Fulton County judge, the changes made to the Open Records Act were illegal because they are attempts by the state to prevent the plaintiffs from obtaining Quick Start’s training program that were used by Kia Motors in its hiring process. However, when the case was moved to a higher court, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kia Motors and the state that the amendments to the Open Records Act are constitutional (Wirth, 2013).
This is an example of a civil case as it involves a dispute related to how a company conducts its operations (Arizona Supreme Court, 2016). The state of Georgia and Kia Motors are the defendants in the case while the four employees are the plaintiffs. Since the plaintiffs have decided to move the matter to court, the case must follow the correct court process before a final ruling is made. Such a case is heard in the State’s High Court and proceeds to the Supreme Court if need be. First, the plaintiffs must file a complaint with the court clerk explaining why they are filing the case and the exact action that they want the court to take. Second, the plaintiffs must rule out the possibility of arbitration before allowing the court to proceed with the case. Third, the plaintiffs’ complaint is delivered to the defendants before judges at the court. Fourth, the defendants are given some time, often less than 20 days, to respond to the complaint stating whether they are in agreement or they are denying it. Fifth, the case moves to discovery stage where the plaintiffs and the defendants are given an opportunity to exchange information about the case. Sixth, the case moves to trial stage where each side is given a chance to present their concerns before judges or a jury depending on who is available. After careful cross-examination of witnesses, the judge makes a ruling on the basis of the testimony presented during the trial stage (Arizona Supreme Court, 2016).
Looking at the whole court process that the case has to undergo, it is clear that the case has taken a long time before a final ruling can be made and both the plaintiffs and defendants have utilized a lot of money in the case. Instead of moving to the court, the two differing parties could have considered using Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve their dispute. Alternative Dispute Resolution is now a popular option for solving disputes outside the court. When compared to the court process, Alternative Dispute Resolution is relatively faster and cheaper. The Judicial Council of California (2016), documents four methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution namely; Mediation, Arbitration, Negotiation, and Neutral evaluation. The best method of Alternative Dispute Resolution that would be recommended for the described case is Arbitration. Arbitration is a method of Alternative Dispute Resolution where neutral person is allowed to hear the arguments presented by both parties and to make the final decision. The rules of evidence used in arbitration are more relaxed than those used in litigation. In arbitration, the two parties must agree that they want a third party to make the final decision over their dispute.
Although arbitration is the best method of alternative dispute resolution that is recommended for the given case, the two parties must remember that going through litigation might be better than considering Alternative Dispute Resolution when certain issues are considered (Judicial Council of California, 2016). For instance, disputes that are solved through litigation method rarely recur because the parties involved would not wish to go through the court process again. When disputes are solved through Alternative Dispute Resolution, chances are always high that they might recur. In addition, disputes solved through litigation serve as a lesson to many people both to the current society and to the future generations. This is because, cases solved through the court process are often recorded and their rulings may help to serve as landmark cases. This is always absent in certain methods of alternative dispute resolution and most of them are often verbal (Judicial Council of California, 2016).
Traditional litigation has three major disadvantages that parties involved in a dispute should understand. According to Trubek et al. (1983), clients are normally compelled to spend a lot of time and money on litigation. Many clients have confessed having used the bulk of their expenditures in paying lawyers and in meeting their travel costs to and from the courts. In addition, litigation normally takes longer time as compared to alternative dispute resolution. This may greatly affect business operations especially if the owner of the company is directly involved in the case (Trubek et al., 1983). Many people in the contemporary society are now using alternative dispute resolution instead of litigation. Considering these two benefits of litigation, parties involved in a dispute must weigh a number of options before settling on the best method to use in resolving it.
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