By Debbie Teschke, Manager of Media Relations & Communications
With U.S. civil litigation costs escalating to $200 billion to $300 billion annually, the International Housewares Association (IHA) has launched an initiative to help members save time and money by exploring Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) instead of litigation in a courtroom setting. ADR methods include mediation and arbitration.
IHA is undertaking this initiative in alliance with the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR). CPR has gathered support for ADR from Fortune 500 companies across the spectrum of business.
IHA and its Board of Directors are asking housewares industry suppliers to sign a policy statement on the preference to resolve legal matters using ADR methods. The non-binding pledge asserts a company’s support of the housewares industry in taking a stand against the escalating cost of litigation, including the costs associated with defending a company against legal claims of all types.
As of mid-July more than 30 companies had signed the pledge via word of mouth in advance of a formal announcement.
“Litigation costs impact all businesses and seem to be a function of just being ‘in business,’ ” says Phil Brandl, IHA president. “If both parties in a dispute can agree to resolve their issues through less expensive and more effective, methods everyone will benefit, even consumers. Consumers will benefit because it would lower the costs of doing business for our members and business owners will be able to focus on their business and spend less time worrying about litigation.”
“This is a way to avoid costly litigation that will benefit both parties,” says Bruce Kaminstein, CEO of Casabella Holdings LLC and chairman of IHA’s Board of Directors. “Litigation seems to always run out of control and takes on needless costs. ADR is a way to contain these costs while attending to the issue at hand.”
To download and sign the pledge, please go to www.housewares.org/pdf/ADR_Pledge_Form.pdf. Return the completed form to Dean Kurtis at IHA at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can contact Dean with any questions or concerns as well.