Another approach is nonbinding arbitration. The parties may decide in advance to use the ruling as a suggestion rather than be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. In the case of a farming dispute, a pilot of a crop-duster plane inadvertently sprayed the wrong fields and killed a half-million-dollar crop. Given the size of this case, the attorneys representing each side engaged in nonbinding arbitration. Hiring a retired judge, they each presented their case and asked him to make an informal decision on the legal merits of the case. This process enabled each side to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of their case and make a more informed decision about how to proceed. The judge sided with the farmer who lost the crops. The result was an offer of settlement by the crop-dusting company to the farmer. The nonbinding arbitration succeeded in keeping the case out of a lengthy and expensivecourt hearing.
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