Litigants may benefit from the services of a referee

Particularly in complicated matters like major construction projects, there is always the possibility that any business deal can get tied up in litigation. The more parties that are involved and the more dollars at stake, the more likely that a legal dispute will arise.

The reality is the federal courts and state courts in and around Orange County are overwhelmed with litigation. Therefore, it often makes since in terms of both saving time and money to consider some form of alternative dispute resolution.

Discovery disputes can get resolved with the help of a referee

California individuals and businesses needing to litigate have more and more options with respect to alternative dispute resolution.

For instance, most litigation will involve what is called discovery, that is, the court-supervised collection of information and evidence about each side’s case.

Not surprisingly, a lot of additional litigation revolves around disputes about what each side’s rights and obligations are.

In the worst case scenario, discovery disputes can cost as much if not more time and expense than the original dispute.

In this respect, retaining the services of a discovery referee may be helpful.

The discovery referee can spend time handling the discovery process to make sure it goes smoothly and suggesting solutions to any issues that emerge.

If needed, he or she can also suggest a solution to the judge, who will then make a final ruling. Without additional authority, however, the referee cannot make binding decisions.

A judicial reference referee may also be a good option

In California, judges are allowed to appoint a referee, or special master, to make a decision on behalf of the court in a particular case.

While judicial reference referees may be required by contract, parties can also agree to use one after litigation starts.

Unlike an arbitrator, a special master has to follow the standard rules of the California courts. Whereas an arbitration is very difficult to overturn, either party may appeal a decision of a special master.


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