by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Arbitration

§ 8.27
Key Point 8-27. Churches have various defenses available to them if they are sued as a result of a personal injury. One such defense is an arbitration policy. By adopting an arbitration policy, a church can compel members to arbitrate specified disputes with their church rather than pursue their claim in the civil courts.

The arbitration of disputes has many advantages over litigation in the civil courts. Consider the following:

(1) a much faster resolution of disputes;
(2) often, lower attorneys' fees;
(3) monetary awards often are less than civil court judgments;
(4) there is little if any risk of punitive damages, or astronomical verdicts out of proportion to the alleged wrong due to "runaway juries";
(5) disputes are resolved privately, with little or no media attention;
(6) the spectacle of plaintiffs' attorneys appealing to the emotions of juries through courtroom theatrics ...

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