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ADR - LITIGATION COMPARISON CHART

  Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Litigation
Mediation Arbitration
Structure Informal Informal Less informal Formal
Attorneys Attorneys generally not involved. Attorneys often involved. Attorneys usually involved, attorneys' fees allowed. Parties can represent themselves in court but normally hire lawyers. Attorneys' fees allowed.
Time IDR usually within 30 days. Mediation within ~90 days. Arbitration should occur within 90 days but can take much longer. The case should come to trial within 12 to 24 months but can take up to five years depending on the court's calendar and how vigorously the parties litigate.
Cost No cost. Depends on the mediator (~$200-$500 per hour) and length of mediation. Each side pays 1/2the cost.
Depends on the arbitrator (~$200-$500 per hour), the contentiousness of the parties, and the length of arbitration. Fees and costs can range from $5,000 to $40,000 or more per side. Depends on the aggressiveness of the parties, the hourly rates of the lawyers, how soon it gets to trial, and whether it is a jury or bench trial. Fees and costs can range from $15,000 to $600,000 or more per side.
Misc. HOA required to participate if requested by owner but owner not required to participate if requested by the association. If pre-litigation mediation is unsuccessful, the dispute may escalate to arbitration or litigation. Extremely limited right of appeal. Prevailing party may be entitled to attorneys' fees and costs. May require an offer of ADR before proceeding.

NOTE
: The chart is for general comparison only. Actual situations may vary widely. Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

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