Resolving Your Case Through Arbitration
Attorney Michael J. Betts serves as an arbitrator in private arbitrations, and he is on the roster of arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) for commercial and consumer cases and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Dispute Resolution.
In the event of pending or threatened litigation, parties may decide to have their dispute decided by an arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators) rather than incurring the expenses and delays inherent in litigation. Contracts may also include an arbitration provision requiring arbitration. As part of his ADR practice, Mr. Betts is available to serve as an arbitrator in these situations.
Resolving Conflict At A Lower Cost
One of the significant benefits of arbitration is the management of expense through discovery. Discovery in arbitration is generally much more limited than that allowed in litigation. One of the reasons that litigation can be so expensive is that the parties are given wide latitude by court rules to conduct discovery, including broad requests for documents and electronically-stored information (ESI) and numerous depositions.
These expenses can be largely avoided through the parties’ explicit agreement restricting the scope of discovery or their general agreement to abide by the rules of the entity administering the arbitration, the AAA or FINRA. These groups usually provide for limited document discovery and no depositions (or a limited right to take depositions where good cause is shown).
Shortening Your Case’s Duration
Arbitrations are also favored when parties would like their issue quickly resolved. Cases submitted to arbitration are generally concluded in far less time than cases that are litigated. This is due to various factors, including the limited scope of motion practice (no right or a very limited right to file motions to dismiss or motions for summary judgment) in arbitration, the restricted scope of discovery and no right, or a very limited right, to judicial/appellate review.
Tailor Your Arbitration Agreement
Most parties considering arbitration should assume that the opportunity for judicial review of any award will be very narrow. However, the parties can expand the extent to which an arbitrator’s decision can be reviewed within in their arbitration agreement. For example, the parties may provide for review by an appellate arbitration panel.
The flexibility of arbitration generally extends to any agreed-upon appellate process, such as confidentiality and the ability to customize the process as the parties see fit. The parties can agree to the specific grounds of appeal that would be available, limit the parties’ submissions to the appellate panel, limit briefs of a certain length and dispense with oral argument.