A Complete Record for Complete Options: Why You Need a Reporter for Your Arbitration Session
Court reporters are required to transcribe accurate and verbatim reports of litigation proceedings to capture precise records for the court. However, such records are not required, nor are court reporters appointed, for arbitration proceedings—although they probably should be, for your own protection.
Arbitration sessions are meant to craft compromises between opposing parties and develop a mutually agreeable settlement rather than having to take the case to court. Since the sessions are presided over by lawyers and mediators, many believe that once the settlement is made then the issue is resolved. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Buried resentment, surprise decisions to appeal, and even miscommunication or misunderstanding can cause a mutual resolution to turn quickly into a full fledged “he said, she said” war that—in the end—may wind up in court anyway.
That is unless you had the presence of mind to have the arbitration recorded.
How a Court Reporter Can Keep a Case from Turning from Arbitration to Litigation
It doesn’t matter if you trust the opposing party in your arbitration or not, it is very easy to forget or misconstrue details of a settlement when the only evidence you have that it took place was what you remember. That being said, what if the opposing party “remembers” terms and agreements differently than you do? What if once side decides to appeal the decision due to statements made during mediation sessions, but you don’t have evidence of what was said?
This is where a reporter (and a verifiable record of the session) can come in handy. A certified transcriptionist will record the entire arbitration verbatim, in order to provide you with the opportunity to:
- Review what was said. A complete written record of the session will allow you and your lawyer to reexamine what was said and evaluate potentially misheard or misunderstood statements. In addition to clarifying the proceedings, this can also prevent miscommunication and help you avoid unwittingly agreeing to something you misunderstood.
- Reiterate agreements. Depending on the reason for the arbitration, opposing parties may try to change the resolution by arguing what was said (or not said) during arbitration. However, by having a complete record of the session, you can avoid the argument by providing a detailed account of exactly what was said, what was agreed upon, and what was resolved.
- File for an appeal. In order to appeal a decision, you must have evidence that proves your rights were violated or something that took place during the arbitration was questionable enough to warrant a reprieve. Without a court reporter’s transcript, it will be extremely difficult to prepare an adequate record for appeal—which may be fatal to your motion, as it could be grounds for dismissal.
Don’t risk a “he said, she said” predicament or paint yourself into a corner by not having a proper record of your arbitration. Contact us today to have one of our certified reporters transcribe your next arbitration. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.
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