Mr. Betts is an experienced arbitrator.  He is on the American Arbitration Association’s national roster of arbitrators for commercial and consumer cases.  Mr. Betts also is on the roster of arbitrators for securities arbitrations administered by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Dispute Resolution.

Disputes frequently are submitted to arbitration as the result of pre-dispute arbitration provisions found in contracts governing the relationships between parties or relating to specific transactions between them.  Such contractual provisions are interpreted broadly, consistent with the public policy in favor of arbitration, and are generally enforceable.  In addition, even in the absence of a pre-dispute arbitration provision, parties involved in a pending lawsuit or threatened litigation may agree to have the dispute decided by an arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators), rather than incurring the expenses and delays inherent in the litigation process. Mr. Betts is available to serve as an arbitrator in these situations.

Private arbitration is generally much more efficient and cost-efficient than the litigation process. There are various reasons for this. One of the primary reasons is that the parties’ rights to take discovery (serving written requests for information and documents on other parties and taking depositions of other parties and non-parties) is much more limited in arbitration than the broad discovery rights permitted in litigation. Court rules generally provide parties to lawsuits with wide latitude in conducting discovery, including the rights to serve broad requests for documents and electronically stored information (ESI) and to take numerous depositions. These expenses can be largely avoided in arbitration. In cases administered by AAA and FINRA Dispute Resolution, for example, the rules of those organizations provide for only limited discovery. In private arbitrations and self-administered arbitrations, the parties, either through pre-dispute arbitration provisions or in an arbitration agreement prepared to address a dispute after it has arisen, may restrict the scope of discovery.

The arbitration process is also more efficient than litigation because cases submitted to arbitration are generally concluded in far less time than cases that are litigated in court. This is due to various factors, including the limited scope of motion practice in arbitration (no right or a very limited right to file motions to dismiss or motions for summary judgment), the limited scope of discovery and very limited rights to judicial/appellate review. The extent to which an arbitration award is subject to review is a subject frequently addressed in private arbitration agreements.

Arbitration – Respecting The Parties’ Privacy Interests

Arbitration appeals to many parties because it provides an opportunity to have disputes resolved in private. Documents filed with the court in connection with lawsuits are a matter of public record and trials are generally open to the public and the media. In a private arbitration, on the other hand, the parties can agree that the proceeding will be private and that documents and testimony in connection with the process will be maintained in confidence by the parties and the arbitrator(s).

Private Arbitration Agreements Tailored to Each Case

When parties to pending or threatened litigation decide to submit their dispute to private arbitration (voluntary mediation, rather than mandatory arbitration provided by a pre-dispute arbitration provision), Mr. Betts is available to assist the parties in the drafting of a mutually acceptable agreement governing the various stages of the arbitration process to be used by the parties to resolve the dispute (e.g., the claim submission process, discovery rights, resolution of discovery disputes, pre-hearing exchange of exhibits and identification of witnesses and the scheduling and conduct of the final hearing), as well as the extent to which the arbitrator(s) award will be subject to review or appeal. Although the opportunity for judicial review of an arbitration award is generally very narrow, the parties in their agreement can expand the extent to which the award can be reviewed. The parties may even provide for review by an appellate arbitration panel, with a prompt and efficient review process.

Contact Us to Discuss Arbitration Services

For additional information about the arbitration services provided by Michael J. Betts, please contact us by telephone at (412) 935-7073 or online.

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