Internet Dispute Resolution – Part II

Internet dispute resolution is paramount in the age of technology and innovation. Cyber-negotiation strategies have proved to be effective for online dispute resolution providers. These providers allow the parties to resolve their disputes by submitting settlement offers and negotiating over the internet.

Cyber-mediation and cyber-arbitration are part of the online dispute resolution services. They present certain advantages and disadvantages when compared to traditional mediation and arbitration. For example, online dispute resolution is effective and easy especially since it does not require the parties to travel anywhere. It is less costly and time consuming when compared to the traditional options. However, the disadvantage may be that it is impersonal as the parties do not meet the neutral judge in person. So, in essence, the entire process takes place online and no one has the opportunity to have an in-person meeting.

In most contracts, there is some kind of dispute resolution provision that allows the parties to avoid a formal lawsuit. The provision can include language about a preselection of the service provider the parties have chosen for administering the dispute resolution process. This way, they can agree beforehand that all disputes will be resolved without a formal lawsuit in state or federal court. It is important to note that litigation can be time consuming and expensive and online dispute resolution providers can deliver an alternative option.

For example, the online dispute resolution providers grant a certain time to the parties to submit their evidence and issue a settlement offer during negotiations. They may also be granted the option to participate in a multi-party online negotiation. The parties can upload their evidence via a “secure web portal” or another option such as an FTP server. The FTP server can only be accessed by the authorized party who has a username and password. It is always recommended to use encryption when sending or receiving confidential information such as financial records. Encryption is the process of encoding information by scrambling it from plaintext to ciphertext with special algorithm. There are other sophisticated tools and techniques – e.g., private and secure video conferences – that could allow the parties to hold online meetings. This way, they can express their concerns, review documents, and discuss their settlement terms.

Also, another advantage to using “cyber-mediation” or “cyber-arbitration” is to avoid jurisdictional complications since the courts must have jurisdiction over the case and controversy. This is important because federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction which means they can only be involved in cases that are authorized by the federal Constitution or federal statutes. See 28 U.S.C. Section 1331 which states: “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” In addition, 28 U.S.C. Section 1332 states the district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions where the matter in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $75,000, exclusive of interest and costs, and is between: (1) citizens of different states; (2) citizens of a state and citizens or subjects of a foreign state; (3) citizens of different states and in which citizens or subjects of a foreign state are additional parties; and (4) a foreign state as plaintiff and citizens of a state or of different states.

Our law firm assists clients in matters related to internet dispute resolution procedures such as arbitration and mediation. It’s important to know your legal rights and responsibilities when involved with internet transactions. Please contact our law firm to speak with an internet attorney at your earliest convenience.