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Civil Jury Trial Program Offers Alternative for Business Disputes?

Business litigation is often a high-stakes, high-cost, long-struggle endeavor. Multnomah County recently announced a pilot program aimed at addressing two of those issues.

The new Expedited Civil Jury Trial program, announced in May 2010, provides an option for parties seeking swift resolution. A simple form uncontested motion can put parties to a simple (but costly) breach of contract or partnership dispute on the fast track to resolution in no more than four months.
The expedited case is specially assigned to a judge for all pretrial rulings and the parties' discovery plan is closely monitored to keep the case on track.

The impact of this new program on high stakes business litigation will not be known for some time. What we do know is that it has the potential to vastly alter the business litigation landscape for cases with at least relatively straight-forward facts.

A firm trial date in the near term could drive a quick settlement. If that effort at settling you business dispute fails, under the right circumstances, four months of intense litigation could offer a far superior alternative to the eighteen months of protracted trench warfare.

Momentum can be gained and sustained. Efficiencies can be maintained as case work-up remains fresh throughout the litigation. Focus can be tighter, and certainty can be achieved more quickly. That means you can go back to focusing on your business.

This option will not be appropriate for every case. But having another option to resolving your business disputes-particularly one that allows you to speed up the grinding wheels of justice-is never a bad thing.

Our firm will be advising our clients to employ this powerful tool in the appropriate cases. We will also be watching very closely how the Expedited Civil Jury Trial progream is being used by other firms, to their benefit or detriment, in the coming months.

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