Civil litigators are still feeling the effects of court backlogs. The consequences include more money spent, more time in legal limbo, inevitable scheduling conflicts and long wait times for trial.
Our new Trial by Judge Program offers an expedited way to adjudicate personal injury disputes in a confidential bench trial format. Parties agree on a judge from our panel to serve as a neutral decision-maker in their legal dispute. They present evidence and their arguments to the trial judge, who will rule on the matter based on the facts and the law.
“Private judging is often overlooked when discussing alternative dispute resolution; mediation and arbitration are more familiar,” said Hon. Larry G. Axelrood, (Ret.), senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems. “But not all parties want to mediate or arbitrate. Some want a trial. Better still, they want a trial with fewer delays, lower expenses, more flexibility and comfort and a decision-maker of their choice. That is what we offer at ADR Systems.”
The Trial by Judge Program is open to personal injury disputes of varying complexity and valuation. So long as a case is trial ready, parties can use this program.
Key aspects of this program include:
- Motion practice will be carried out prior to the case coming to ADR Systems, but motions in limine will be allowed
- Trials will follow the Rules of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, Illinois Supreme Court Rules and the Illinois Rules of Evidence unless the parties stipulate otherwise
- Live testimony will be presented at trial unless otherwise agreed to by the parties or otherwise permitted by the rules
- The trial judge will not consider punitive damages unless by agreement of the parties, and there are no appeals
- High/Low parameters may be used by agreement of the parties, but they will be unknown to the trial judge
The Trial by Judge Program seeks to expand access to justice through alternative dispute resolution processes in ways that are sensitive to issues of cost and time to parties facing protracted litigation. Moreover, the Trial by Judge Program gives parties what they often would prefer in a normal trial and relish when they elect to mediate or arbitrate: confidentiality and, most especially, choice of a neutral third party who will help them resolve their dispute. As we noted in a previous article, retired judges — both on our esteemed panel and in general — “bring to the table a deep reservoir of knowledge and experience. On the bench, they ruled on motions, managed proceedings, wrote reasoned opinions and demonstrated their fidelity to fairness.
“Our neutrals have been mediating and arbitrating disputes for years now, but almost all of them were judges first — judges in the jurisdictions in which so many of the cases in this new program will have been filled,” said Marc Becker, president of ADR Systems. “They know the law, they know the rules, they know how to preside over a trial. That experience is yours to leverage through our new program.”
Hon. Larry G. Axelrood, (Ret.) has extensive experience with medical malpractice, nursing home, railroad, legal malpractice, premises liability, construction and personal injury matters. Having served on the Evanston Police Pension Board and the Illinois Judges Association Pension and Benefits Committee, Judge Axelrood also has in-depth experience with pensions and their impact on various types of cases.
ADR Systems, It’s Settled. ®