For additional information and full text of blogs, please contact the DTCI members whose blogs are summarized below.
The Costs of Litigation
Scott M. Kyrouac, Wilkinson Law Firm
Business owners and managers often opine that high litigation costs and lengthy delays make it difficult and expensive to resolve business disputes in court. This is true for Indiana in 2015 as well as other states. Lawsuits are expensive even though most civil cases that enter the court system are settled before disposition at trial. Unfortunately, significant time and money is typically spent during [the] pre-trial discovery stage of litigation. … Alternative dispute resolution encourages both sides to not let such faulty decision making obstruct a path to resolution.
Mediation allows the parties to control the outcome of litigation without expending vast resources on litigation procedures. Mediation is enforced by the Indiana Supreme Court in the trial rules, which promote legally binding mediated decisions. Arbitration also provides for cost effective disposition of legal disputes. … While arbitration is binding, mediation is voluntary.
. . . statistics show that as of a little less than a year ago, $233 billion dollars a year represented the annual cost to the U.S. economy for civil lawsuits. They estimated this cost to be $809 per U.S. citizen.
FMLA: DoL Redefines “Spouse”
Mark McAnulty, Kahn Dees Donovan & Kahn
Effective March 27, 2015, employers must administer the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to give spouses in same-sex marriages the same ability as all spouses to fully exercise their rights under the FMLA. This, pursuant to a Final Rule of the Department of Labor (“DOL”), amends the definition of “spouse” in the FMLA regulations, and shifts the focus of a legal marriage from a “state of residence” rule to a “place of celebration” rule.
In other words, employers must now look to the law of the place in which the marriage was entered, as opposed to the law of the state in which the employee resides. In the DOL’s view, a “place of celebration” rule allows all legally married couples, whether traditional or same-sex, to enjoy consistent family leave rights regardless of whether their state of residence recognizes same-sex marriage.