Ohio Arbitration?by Nathan Wills (Wills Law Firm, LLC)
In Ohio, Revised Code §2711.01 et seq covers arbitration. Arbitration is a contractual agreement between parties to resolve any issues by bringing claims in front of an arbitrator rather than going to court. The arbitrators are named or appointed by a provision in the contract. If there has been no provision made in the contract, either party in the dispute may apply to the court for the appointment of an arbitrator.
Arbitration is often included in contracts between people and corporations. An example is a nursing home contract, where the arbitration clause is included within the contract. This type of clause generally benefits the corporation that wrote the contract. Many contracts make arbitration mandatory, meaning that if there is any negligence resulting in harm to an individual, the victim could be deprived of his right to a trial as guaranteed under the United States and Ohio constitutions. In some instances, even if the contract did include an arbitration clause, a lawyer might be able to invalidate or overcome the arbitration requirement.
Arbitration has its drawbacks. Rather than have a judge and jury consider the facts of the case and come to a resolution, the arbitrator or panel decides the outcome. If the arbitration is binding, that means the decision of the arbitrator cannot be disputed or appealed, unless you can prove bias. This is in contrast to trying your case in court, where the opportunity exists to apply for leave to appeal a judicial decision that is not in your favor.
If you are involved in a civil dispute you may find that the opposing party wants to resolve the case in front of an arbitrator. Because this may not be to your benefit, it is important to discuss your options with a knowledgeable attorney. You may also wish to have an attorney review contracts, such as nursing home admission agreements, to advise you about the possible impact of any arbitration provisions.