Q: Why am I in Arbitration?
A: You are in arbitration because your contract contains a binding arbitration provision. This applies even in instances where the seller misrepresents facts or commits fraud to induce the buyer into signing a contract. http://www.jnclaw.com/legal_developments.htm
Q: What is Arbitration?
A: A method of alternative dispute resolution in which the disputing parties agree to abide by the decision of an arbitrator(s). The submission of a dispute to an impartial third person or persons. The arbitrator or arbitrators are selected directly by the parties or are chosen in accordance with the terms of a contract in which the parties have agreed to use a court-ordered arbitrator or an arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association. When parties submit to arbitration, they agree to be bound by and comply with the arbitrators' decision. The arbitrators' decision is given after an informal proceeding where each side presents evidence and witnesses.
Q: Can my case be dismissed before it is even heard?
A: It happened to us. The Arbitrator granted Toll’s Motion to Dismiss our Demand For Arbitration before we were allowed to present our evidence.
Q: Isn’t a hearing required?
A: We thought so. Our claim well exceeded $10,000. Furthermore, we did not agree to arbitrate by submitting a series of documents.
From the ADR Construction rules:
Where no party's claim exceeds $10,000, exclusive of interest and arbitration costs, and other cases in which the parties agree, the dispute shall be resolved by submission of documents, unless any party requests an oral hearing or conference call, or the arbitrator determines that an oral hearing or conference call is necessary. The arbitrator shall establish a fair and equitable procedure for the submission of documents.
F-9. Date, Time, and Place of Hearing
In cases in which a hearing is to be held, the arbitrator shall set the date, time, and place of the hearing, to be scheduled to take place within 30 calendar days of confirmation of the arbitrator's appointment. The AAA will notify the parties in advance of the hearing date.
F-10. The Hearing
(a) Generally, the hearing shall not exceed one day. Each party shall have equal opportunity to submit its proofs and complete its case. The arbitrator shall determine the order of the hearing, and may require further submission of documents within two business days after the hearing. For good cause shown, the arbitrator may schedule one additional hearing day within seven business days after the initial day of hearing.
Q: Can my case be dismissed before the facts material to the case are presented?
A: Apparently so. Rule 31(a) of the AAA rules states otherwise, however, this rule and others do not apply to Toll Brothers:
The claimants shall present evidence to support its claim. The respondent shall then present evidence supporting its defense. Witnesses for each party shall also submit questions from the arbitrator to the adverse party. The arbitrator has the discretion to vary this procedure, provided that the parties are treated with equality and that each party has the right to be heard and is given a fair opportunity to present its case.
Q: Can the Arbitrator vary normal procedures, i.e not conducting a required hearing, without informing the parties of this variation?
A: Apparantly so. The Arbitrator can vary the AAA procedures in such a way that will ultimately deny Claimants fundamental fairness.
Q: Can the Arbitrator disregard all applicable state and local laws in rendering a decision?
Q: Can my case be dismissed without explanation?
A: Yes, it’s true. The Arbitrator can dismiss a case without citing grounds. Thereby, leaving the Claimants bewildered, shocked, dismayed and confused.
Q: What can I do if the Arbitrator dismisses my case?
A: Nothing. You have no legal recourse.
Q: Can a conflict exist between the Arbitrator and Toll's attorneys?
A: Again, this happened to us. A conflict check was initially run when we were selecting the Arbitrator. But, when Toll’s attorney changed firms, a new conflict check was not run. After the Arbitrator delivered the Award to Grant Toll’s Motion to Dismiss, we uncovered the fact that a Partner of Toll’s attorney and the Arbitrator sat on the same Real Estate Advisory Board. This is a 17 member Board. Real Property Law Advisory Board
Q: I thought Arbitration as a forum was created to absorb the additional case load of the Courts and provide resolution to claims in cost effective manner. Is this true?
A: No. Arbitration is not cost effective. Arbitration does not provide resolution.
Q: Can I share my Arbitration experience?
A: Yes. Please post a comment.