FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below are Frequently Asked Questions about Dispute Resolution Services in general and Carole Katz LLC in particular:
ABOUT DISPUTE RESOLUTION SERVICES
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a confidential process in which the mediator, a neutral person chosen by the parties, facilitates settlement negotiations. A mediator helps the parties articulate their perspectives and interests and understand those of their opponent, probe the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s legal positions, and generate options for a mutually agreeable resolution to the dispute that meets the parties’ needs better than litigation. The parties maintain control by retaining the power to shape the result rather than leaving all of the power with a judge or jury to impose an outcome. Often, mediation offers parties a unique opportunity to shape relief that they could never get in court because it is outside the scope of what a judge or jury is empowered to award. Mediation is also non-binding; the parties make voluntary decisions, and are free to decide whether to proceed with litigation instead of a settlement.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a confidential process in which an arbitrator, selected by the parties, is presented with evidence and arguments, and then makes a judgment on the claims. The parties decide whether the judgment will be binding or non-binding. Unlike a court proceeding, Arbitration is private.
What is Case Evaluation?
Case Evaluation, or Early Neutral Evaluation, is a process in which the parties and their counsel make condensed presentations of their key evidence, claims and defenses to an experienced lawyer, selected by the parties, who has expertise in the subject matter of the dispute. That lawyer provides a neutral, non-binding evaluation of the case. Case Evaluation can be a helpful tool when the parties have very different understandings of one or more key aspects of the case, such as an area of law. A Case Evaluation may facilitate settlement negotiations by helping litigants gain a better understanding of key variables in the case. Often a Case Evaluation leads to mediation.
What costs are saved by resolving a dispute through an alternative dispute resolution process rather than litigation?
Parties can save substantial out-of-pocket costs and time by resolving a dispute through alternative dispute resolution.
Typically, the most expensive phase of a lawsuit is the time-consuming process of discovery which can involve, for example, responding to document requests with hard copies and electronically-stored information, answering interrogatories, taking and defending depositions and addressing discovery disputes. Trials also can be prohibitively expensive because of extensive preparation and court time. The longer a case drags on, the more the attorneys’ fees and expenses can become “sunk costs” that may impede the parties’ ability to settle.
Also, time is money, and early resolution can save the participants considerable amounts of time. Litigation requires parties and witnesses to pursue or defend their positions by gathering documents and information in discovery or preparing to testify in depositions and trial. All of this time-consuming work distracts them from their primary responsibilities and priorities.
The earlier in the litigation process that parties reach a settlement, the more they avoid attorneys’ fees, out-of-pocket costs and time drains. Statistically, the vast majority of civil cases settle, and only 2-3% of them are resolved through trials. Therefore, it makes economic sense to resolve the case before the parties spend significant time and money on litigation.
Resolving a dispute through Mediation, Arbitration or Case Evaluation saves all of these costs, and allows the parties to move beyond conflict and focus on what is important to them.
What are the other advantages of resolving a dispute through a process besides litigation?
Early resolution also avoids non-monetary costs. Litigation can be unsettling, stressful and disruptive to the people and businesses involved. Chief Justice Warren Burger compared our adversarial system to "the ancient trial by battle and blood" because it has become "too costly, too painful, too disruptive, too inefficient for a truly civilized people." The writer Ambrose Bierce defined litigation as "a machine which you go into as a pig and come out as a sausage." The negative human impacts of litigation can be avoided by resolving the conflict early.
Additionaly, when parties fashion their own resolution, they have the flexibility to shape a result that meets their needs better than litigation. They also can take satisfaction in having retained the control to construct their own resolution rather than giving up that power to a judge or jury whose decisions may deeply disappoint them.
ABOUT CAROLE KATZ LLC
What makes Carole Katz LLC different from other dispute resolution firms?
Carole’s unique blend of extensive legal and business experience makes her different.
As a seasoned former executive and manager in a Fortune 500 company, Carole understands the business context in which legal disputes arise. She “gets” the practical realities the parties face and risk tradeoffs. This business background complements Carole’s more than 20-year career as a litigator with two of the largest international law firms. She has thoroughly evaluated many hundreds of employment, commercial, business, energy, professional liability, and personal injury cases, developed negotiation strategies, and successfully worked with all kinds of clients, business executives and opposing counsel to reach resolutions that were in all parties’ best interests. While every negotiation is distinct, she is familiar with the recurring patterns, communication strategies, and problem-solving skills that work and don’t work. She uses this extensive experience to facilitate productive discussions and new insights that maximize the chances of success at the negotiating table, and to issue sound, accurate, and thoughtful results in Arbitrations and Case Evaluations.
Carole also brings her values to her work as a Mediator, Arbitrator, and Case Evaluator. She is and always has been dedicated to: excellence, hard work, and integrity; helping others and supporting them in reaching their goals; respecting others’ autonomy to make decisions that affect their lives or businesses; and solving problems through communication, collaboration, understanding, persistence and creativity.
For more information about Carole’s experience and credentials, click here to see Carole's CV.
What geographic areas does Carole Katz serve?
Carole, based in Pittsburgh, PA, provides services anywhere in the continental United States
In what types of disputes does Carole Katz serve as a Mediator, Arbitrator, and Case Evaluator?
Carole provides her services in virtually every kind of commercial dispute, including:
• Employment cases (class, collective, and individual), for example:
Discrimination and/or harassment based on race, gender, religion, disability, sexual preference or identity, national origin, or other protected characteristic
Retaliation for lodging a complaint or other protected activity
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Wage and hour under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state analogues, such as misclassification as an independent contractor or exempt employee, overtime, off-the-clock, rest/meal break
Executive compensation and contract breach
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
Unpaid benefits under ERISA
Breach of restrictive covenant
• Commercial disputes such as:
Breach of contract
Breach of professional or fiduciary duty
Various statutory claims
• Energy/natural gas disputes
• Professional liability matters
Is Carole approved as a Neutral in any Court-sponsored alternative dispute resolution programs?
Yes, Carole is approved by the US District Court for the Western District of PA as a Mediator and Early Neutral Evaluator, and as an e-Discovery Special Master and e-Mediator (for more information, go to the Court’s website (www.pawd.uscourts.gov), and the Bankruptcy Court's Mediation Program (www.pawb.uscourts.gov).
Does Carole serve as a Neutral on any other alternative dispute resolution panels?
Yes, Carole is on the American Arbitration Association’s Roster of Arbitrators for Large Complex Cases, and Employment and Commercial disputes, and also its Mediation Panel. She also is on FINRA’s (the financial industry's regulatory authority) Mediator and Arbitration (Chairperson) Rosters, and serves as a Mediator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Does Carole provide her services independently?
Yes, Carole provides her services privately as well.
What is Carole Katz's fee structure?
Mediations. For mediations outside of the Western Pennsylvania area, Carole charges a flat rate plus reasonable travel expenses. There are no additional charges for preparation or travel time. For additional work after the mediation session done remotely, Carole charges on an hourly basis. For Pittsburgh mediations, Carole works on an hourly basis or, if the parties prefer, a fixed daily rate based on the scope of work. All fees and expenses are generally split evenly by the parties, unless they agree otherwise.
Arbitrations. As an Arbitrator, Carole charges an hourly rate including, for cases outside of the Pittsburgh area, reasonable travel time during which she is not otherwise able to work.
Case Evaluations. Same as Mediations.