Mediation in Today's News


Arbitration News

October 2013

Appeals court rejects secret Delaware arbitration

Ruling blocks private arbitrations overseen by sitting judge. A federal appeals court has upheld a ruling declaring that a Delaware law allowing chancery judges to oversee secret arbitration in high-stakes business disputes is unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-to-1 Wednesday to uphold a federal judge's ruling in favor of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government, which challenged the law. DelCOG, backed by The Associated Press, The New York Times and several other major news organizations, claimed in its lawsuit that the secret arbitration conducted by Delaware's Chancery Court violated the First Amendment rights of citizens to attend judicial proceedings and access court records. Attorneys for the state argued that secret arbitration made the Chancery Court more efficient and generated revenue for Delaware, corporate home to thousands of companies.

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Moscow Ignores Arbitration Over Greenpeace Ship

Russia says it will not participate in an international arbitration process over a Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship, the "Arctic Sunrise," which was seized by Moscow along with the 30 people onboard. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on October 23 that it will not take part in the arbitration because it had opted out of dispute settlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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Wyoming lawmakers consider arbitration for tow truck disputes

Members of a state legislative committee are awaiting a draft bill that would establish an arbitration system for Wyomingites who think they got ripped off by tow truck companies.  After rejecting the bill capping tow rates, the committee ordered legislative staff to draft a bill that would provide customers the opportunity to mediate or arbitrate with a towing company, Landen said. It will be reviewed at the committee’s November meeting in Casper. Mullen, the tow company owner, is open to the idea. “That’s fine by me,” he said. “I justify everything I do. Arbitration will be fine if they keep that fair.”

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Recent Court Decisions Shine a Renewed Light on the Desirability of Employee Arbitration Agreements

Recent court decisions significantly increase the enforceability of employee arbitration agreements, and also make enforceable a properly drafted waiver of an employee’s right to file a class action in court.

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September 2013

The Netherlands updates its Arbitration Act

In April 2013 the Dutch government published a bill for the 'modernisation of Netherlands arbitration law'. Among other things, the bill aims to ensure the continued appeal of the Netherlands Arbitration Act (1986) to international users. Some of the changes that are proposed in the bill are discussed.

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Innovative changes for Belgium’s arbitration rules

This year Belgium has already seen significant reforms in its arbitration rules. These innovative changes include the adoption of a new Arbitration Act and the adoption of new Arbitration and Mediation Rules by the Belgian Centre of Arbitration and Mediation (CEPANI).

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Alex Rodriguez's Arbitration Hearing Set to Begin

Alex Rodriguez gets to start arguing his case Monday. The Yankees slugger is appeal a 211-game suspension for his alleged involvement in the Biogenesis clinic. In a hearing room before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, lawyers for the Yankees third baseman will argue why the 211-game suspension imposed by the MLB Aug. 5 should be overturned.

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NJ Appellate Division Says That Mediator Cannot Then Serve As Arbitrator

From the court: "We conclude the positions of arbitrator and mediator are in conflict. An arbitrator must "maintain 'broad public confidence in the integrity and fairness of the [arbitration] process . . . If the same person acts as a mediator, obtains party confidences or offers opinions on the issues in dispute, a conflict arises were he or she to then switch roles to act as an arbitrator, making the final call.

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Rinehart Allowed Mediation After Arbitration Bid Rejected

Gina Rinehart, after failing to persuade an Australian judge to have a family dispute over a multibillion-dollar trust resolved by an arbitrator, won her bid for a final mediation attempt. Supreme Court Justice Patricia Bergin in Sydney today dismissed Rinehart’s bid to stop the trial and refer the dispute to arbitration. Bergin granted Rinehart’s request for mediation, to be held before Sept. 26, and if the dispute isn’t resolved the judge scheduled a five-day trial to start Oct. 8, a week later than originally planned.

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Arbitration case launched against New Doha International Airport

Lindner Depa Interiors (LDI) has filed a circa AED 900 million ($250 million) international arbitration claim against the New Doha International Airport (NDIA). Linder Depa is a joint venture company between Dubai-based interior contractor Depa Limited and Germany’s Lindner AG. The arbitration proceeding has been commenced in the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris, France. 

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Citigroup must pay couple $3.1 million for not overseeing broker: panel

A Citigroup unit must pay $3.1 million to a Florida-based couple who alleged the firm did not properly supervise a broker who steered them to invest in a politician's real estate developments that later went broke, a securities arbitration panel has ruled.

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Increasing Enforceability Of Mandatory Arbitration Clauses In Wills And Trusts

A hot issue percolating among the states is whether a clause in a will or trust requiring alternative dispute resolution — usually arbitration — should be enforced by the courts. While initially courts appeared to frown on such provisions, the trend has shifted recently, particularly with a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court upholding such a clause.

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Looming decision on arbitration helps settle concussion cases

There’s much to digest about the $765 million settlement of the concussion lawsuits filed against the NFL, and plenty of questions to be answered. For now, the most important point is that the looming ruling on whether all or most of the claims would be steered toward the arbitration process helped the two sides come together and work out their own resolution.

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Schwab Case Casts Spotlight on Securities Arbitration and Its Flaws

Class-action lawsuits are the bane of most financial firms, and many recoil at the prospect of paying out millions to groups of clients if investments go sour. Now, the discount brokerage firm Charles Schwab & Company finds itself at odds with regulators as it seeks to eliminate the option of such suits for its clients.

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August 2013

Growth in Global Disputes Brings Big Paychecks for Law Firms

King & Spalding is handling arbitration in the legal feud between Chevron and Ecuador over environmental damage in the Amazon.
Debt woes, broken contracts and soured business deals may cost global investors billions in losses and create seemingly never-ending headaches for policy makers. But there is a set of specialists profiting from such geopolitical problems: arbitration lawyers. About a dozen legal heavyweights are benefiting from the growing number of lucrative, complex international disputes. About 120 such actions worth more than $1 billion each are pending at international arbitration tribunals worldwide, according to a recent tally by American Lawyer magazine.

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With arbitration looming, what exactly is A-Rod's best defense?

Now that Alex Rodriguez has placed a muzzle on his bulldog lawyer Joe Tacopina – though to be honest, Matt Lauer did a pretty good job of sending him whimpering to the kennel – perhaps we can get past the red herrings and histrionics and focus on the issue at hand.  How will A-Rod’s lawyers defend him where it matters, inside an arbitration hearing room?

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Arbitration Clauses That Avoid Arbitrability Disputes

It is very common to draft an arbitration clause to apply only to certain types of disputes—but usually a mistake to do so. If the parties want arbitration for certain issues, they would be well advised to consider arbitration for all of them.

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A Brief History of MLB Drug-Suspension Arbitration (or: Don't Worry, A-Rod)

Arbitrators have a tradition of overturning Major League Baseball commissioners' decisions regarding penalties for illegal drug use.

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Ireland: Guide To International Arbitration 2013

Article by Nicola Dunleavy and Gearóid Carey

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NFL has agreed to outside arbitration for positive HGH tests

The NFL and NFLPA haven’t reached final agreement on every issue regarding HGH testing. But the two sides have struck a deal on plenty of the pending points of contention. Per a league source, the areas of agreement include the use of third-party arbitration for positive HGH tests. Contrary to plenty of headlines and sound bites, the NFL has agreed to allow someone other than Commissioner Roger Goodell to make the final determination regarding whether a player has tested positive.

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The next frontier of arbitration litigation: lessons from state courts

After reading more than 40 decisions about arbitration from state high courts, issued just in the past eight months, I have two bits of wisdom to share. First, that is not the best way to spend your summer vacation, even for a devoted arbitration nerd. And second, there are arbitration issues percolating in state courts that counsel practicing in this area should be aware of. In particular, state courts are: 1) working hard to avoid having the FAA preempt their developed defenses to arbitration clauses; and 2) confronting a lot of issues relating to whether there is an agreement to arbitrate at all (especially authority issues in nursing home settings).

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The International Comparative Legal Guide to International Arbitration 2013

Chapter on USA by Peter J. Kalis & Roberta D. Anderson

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U.S. Supreme Court Rulings In Arbitration And Employment Matters

The US Supreme Court continued its trend of business-friendly decision-making in the 2012-2013 term. In particular, the Court’s decisions on arbitration and employment-related issues gave companies and employers victories, enforcing arbitration agreements and limiting the scope of harassment and retaliation claims under Title VII. This article discusses four such decisions. The first two decisions concern the Court’s continued affirmance of the federal policy favoring enforcement of arbitration agreements. These decisions reflect the Court’s willingness to (1) enforce agreements containing dispute resolution methods even if those methods bar class actions and (2) defer to the arbitrator’s interpretation of those agreements, even if the Court believes the arbitrator wrongly interpreted the agreement.

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Judge Who Ruled Against Arbitration Activist Now an Arbitrator

A former San Diego Superior Court judge who ruled against arbitration campaigner Jon Perz in his battle with a local car dealership has become an arbitrator. Judge Steven R. Denton sided against Perz during his six-year case against Mossy Toyota in Pacific Beach. Denton retired in June 2013 and soon after went to work for local arbitration company Judicate West.

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The emergence of an international arbitration culture

International arbitration is an obscure field, even among lawyers. However, it is becoming more visible for the simple reason that the field is growing. Arbitration is now one of the most important means for the resolution of international business disputes, including — most notably from the public’s point of view — disputes between investors and the governments of countries in which they invest. Academics and policymakers have begun to describe international arbitration as a form of “global governance.”

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Forbes: The A In A-Rod Stands For Arbitration For A Reason

Perhaps you are wondering why the most consistent statement from Alex Rodriguez throughout the pregame warm-ups to his suspension has been “I will appeal.” I suspect it is because he is lawyered up and well aware of the fact that through arbitration he has more advantages than if he does not appeal.

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Supreme Court’s recent American Express decision has far reaching implications for businesses seeking to avoid being sued in a class action

The Court held that an arbitration agreement was enforceable regardless of the fact that the cost of pursuing a successful claim individually (rather than as a class) could effectively kill a party’s incentive to bring that claim. This ruling has far reaching implications and will likely lead to an increased use of arbitration agreements as a means to secure individualized treatment of potential future claims and avoid the cost of class litigation by consumers, merchants, employees and the like.

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Burdensome arbitration accords unenforceable, Arizona Court of Appeals says

Arizonans can sue those who have harmed them, even in some cases in which they had voluntarily agreed to arbitrate instead, the state Court of Appeals has ruled. In a precedent-setting decision, the judges said arbitration agreements that are a financial burden on individuals are legally "unconscionable." And that, they said, makes them unenforceable.

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July 2013
Florida Court Rules that Mandatory Arbitration Contracts in Medical Malpractice Claims Illegal

The Florida Supreme Court in the case Donna Franks vs. Gary John Bowers, M.D., has rejected written arbitration agreements in medical malpractice cases.  

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S'pore experiencing golden age in arbitration: Indranee Rajah

Singapore is experiencing a golden age in the field of arbitration, said Senior Minister of State for Law Indranee Rajah. The total number of new cases handled by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) increased from 99 cases in 2008 to 235 cases in 2012.

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Arbitration nightmare

Despite win, investors might never be paid.  Investor Sergio Alvarado of Round Lake, Ill., was awarded $748,000 in damages and interest in October after a dispute with his brokerage went through arbitration. Alvarado, however, still hasn't collected a dime.

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NBA's flopping rule could be headed to arbitration

The National Basketball Players Association is seeking an arbitration hearing on the new flopping rule after the National Labor Relations Board recently declined to rule on it, and instead recommended that the matter be sent to an arbitrator.

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Fine Print: Christie Veto of School Arbitration Bill

Gov. Chris Christie yesterday vetoed a bill passed this spring in the Senate and Assembly that would have given nonteaching staff in public schools certain job protections, including the right to binding arbitration in disciplinary matters.

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Crush of arbitration cases from financial crisis eases

The surge of securities arbitration cases provoked by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression is coming to an end.

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Nigeria: Arbitration In Resolution Of Commercial Disputes Will Boost Investors’ Confidence

Former Chairman, section on Business Law of the Nigerian Bar Association, George Etomi has said that the use of arbitrations in resolving commercial dispute will help to stabilize the country’s growing economy and boost investors’ confidence.

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Litigation or arbitration: how best to resolve cross-border disputes in the financial sector?

A primer on decision-making for financial institutions considering arbitration and drafting arbitration clauses in their cross-border contracts.

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Questions and answers about arbitration

An arbitrator is an impartial party hired as an independent contractor by the employer and union involved in the dispute. They listen to the arguments of the case and write a decision based on the language contained in the union’s collective bargaining agreement and applicable laws. The parties agree in advance that the arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding.

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Once a cheaper alternative, arbitration becoming more costly

In Ohio, the average cost of an arbitrator runs $1,006 a day, according to a study by the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service. After fees for travel and other expenses, an arbitrator takes home $4,965 per case, based on an average case duration of about 4.5 days. That’s an 11 percent increase since 2009.

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Factors for Considering Mandatory Arbitration of Employment Disputes

Arbitration of employment claims can be an effective form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that benefits the employee and employer alike. When it works well -- and regardless of whether the employer ultimately is found liable -- both parties can realize cost savings and efficiencies without sacrificing the ability to present your case or the quality of that presentation. Certainly, these are the benefits that make arbitration attractive to companies. However, whether this continues to be the reality of arbitration today is an entirely separate question.

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Georgia seeks to be arbitration center for international business disputes

Georgia, and most importantly the City of Atlanta, is a great place for conducting international business. The airport in Atlanta and port in Savannah together put the state at a global trade and transportation hot spot. With our mild climate, advantageous costs of living, and pro-business environment, Georgia shines as a place to locate international facilities. Now we have another advantage in our international trade infrastructure with a major overhaul of Georgia’s international commercial arbitration law.

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Forced Arbitration: When Your Rights Get the Runaround

The phrase “I’ll see you in court!” may be going the way of “Brother, can you spare a dime?” There’s a disturbing trend in the contracts you sign – for everything from credit cards to cellphones to even leasing a car or building a home. It boils down to two words: forced arbitration. And it’s as ominous as it sounds.

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Fired China Soccer Coach to Seek Arbitration

Fired Chinese national soccer team coach Jose Antonio Camacho will seek arbitration after failing to reach agreement with the China Football Association over compensation for his dismissal. China terminated Camacho’s contract last month after the men’s team lost 5-1 at home to Thailand on June 15, its third home defeat that month. The 58-year-old Spaniard, who was hired on a three-year contract in August 2011, failed to guide the team to next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

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Arbitration Scorecard 2013

It's been 10 years since we published our first Arbitration Scorecard and cracked open the door to the hidden world of international arbitration. With every biennial survey, the door keeps opening wider. Arbitration Scorecard 2013 spotlights 165 treaty arbitrations and 109 contract arbitrations that were active in 2011–12, including a record 121 billion-dollar disputes. What makes these cases interesting, though, goes beyond dollars and cents: They also capture the political and economic crosscurrents of our time.

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More opt for arbitration to settle commercial disputes in Mideast

Businesses operating in the Middle East are increasingly turning to arbitration over litigation in resolving disputes. A large number of these disputes have been construction industry-related; pertaining to issues of breach of contract and/or payment default. “Since the UAE’s accession to the New York Convention in 2006 and the coming into force of the Dubai International Arbitration Centre’s (DIAC) revised arbitration rules in 2007, Dubai has emerged as an attractive hub for the resolution of both domestic and international commercial disputes through arbitration.

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June 2013
Justices Support Corporate Arbitration

The Supreme Court has reinforced the ability of corporations to write their own rules for resolving disputes with customers, finding that a group of merchants were bound by an arbitration agreement with American Express even if the terms made it prohibitively expensive to pursue some types of claims against the company.

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Supreme Court Supports Companies Forcing Arbitration as Alternative to Class Action Suits

In the coming year, millions of American consumers will unknowingly suffer a serious loss of their constitutional rights, simply by receiving a billing statement from a creditor or service provider. Thanks to a Supreme Court case decided last week, the “Terms and Conditions” documents included with a bill—and invariably set in tiny print—will contain obscure legal language that strips away the constitutional right to demand a jury trial if a dispute arises.

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When mandatory arbitration replaces litigation, consumers lose

Legislation that would eliminate required arbitration for employee, consumer and civil rights disputes was proposed last month. It should be passed. Congress must act to restore fairness.
Big business and corporate money, along with a corporate friendly Supreme Court, have been enough in the past to defeat efforts to bring fairness back to the arena of routine consumer and employee rights. Unfortunately, the same thing is likely to happen again, and the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2013 that has been introduced in the House (and a similar bill in the Senate) will likely fail.

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Arbitration Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry

Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter was to be the Supreme Court’s definitive holding that class relief cannot be imposed if an arbitration agreement does not expressly permit class relief. Employers salivating to hear from Oxford Health that their arbitration agreements are class-action-proof, however, were bitterly disappointed. A (rare) unanimous Court resolved the case on a simpler principle: when you ask for arbitration, that’s exactly what you get. If, after the fact, you don’t like what you asked for, tough.

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Credit card binding arbitration system crumbling

2nd arbitration firm pulls out; Chase will no longer participate

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Arbitration ruling gives power to arbitrators

Justices leave it to arbitrators to determine if contract allows classwide relief. Supreme Court rules arbitrator did not exceed authority in allowing class arbitration

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California thumbs nose at Federal Arbitration Act -- again

The California courts say they like arbitration. But they don’t like the Federal Arbitration Act. Not one little bit. Especially that part about the FAA requiring that “private agreements to arbitrate are enforced according to their terms,” and barring any state rule that “stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives” of the FAA. You see, California prides itself on its public policy, and it doesn’t like to see the “supreme law of the land” get in the way.

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