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Arbitration of Commercial, Business and Employment Cases
Many business and commercial contracts, including employment contracts for executives, professionals, and high-level employees, require that disputes between the parties be resolved by arbitration. Typically, such arbitration agreements are accompanied by an agreement that the arbitration will be administered by the American Arbitration Association (the “AAA”).
While arbitration of disputes and court litigation of disputes share some broad similarities, there are critical differences. Our firm is experienced in handling arbitration proceedings under both the AAA Commercial Arbitration Rules and the AAA Employment Arbitration Rules.
One of the most critical aspects of the arbitration process is the selection of an arbitrator or arbitrators. We have the resources and contacts (both in state and out of state), as well as the experience, to make an evaluation of the panel submitted by the AAA so that arbitrators who may not be favorable to your position are avoided and so that we can rank arbitrators who we believe would be favorable accordingly.
Understanding the Arbitration Process
If your commercial or employment contract contains an arbitration provision which provides for AAA administered arbitration, it will be administered under either the AAA Commercial Arbitration Rules or the Employment Arbitration Rules. The fundamental arbitration process under both sets of Rules is fairly similar, although there are some differences, particularly between the rules governing expedited procedures for commercial disputes and the rules governing large, complex commercial disputes.
Arbitration with the AAA is initiated by one party filing a demand for arbitration with the AAA. At the time the demand is filed, a filing fee must be paid to the AAA. The AAA’s schedule of filing fees, as well as it Rules, are available on-line at the AAA website.
After the demand is filed, the AAA will provide the parties’ lawyers with an identical list of proposed arbitrators. The parties’ lawyers then strike certain arbitrators and rank their order of preference of the arbitrators who they have not struck. The parties’ lawyers do not share their strikes and rankings, but submit them directly to the AAA. Based on the potential arbitrators who have been struck and on the order of preference by which the parties have ranked the other potential arbitrators, the AAA will then appoint an arbitrator or arbitrators.
Once an arbitrator(s) is selected, an initial conference will be held to discuss scheduling matters, deadlines, the scope of discovery and a hearing date, as well as other matters.
In arbitration, the arbitrator or arbitrators have broad discretion in the scope, manner, and timing of discovery. Arbitration hearings are generally set to occur within a fairly short period of time after the conclusion of discovery.
Under the AAA rules for both Commercial and Employment arbitration proceedings, arbitrators are required to issue a written decision within thirty (30) days of the conclusion of the hearing. There is no right to any type of an appeal under the AAA rules for either commercial or employment arbitration proceedings.
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