New Arbitration Rules Adopted by American Arbitration Association
The American Arbitration Association recently adopted revised Construction Industry Arbitration Rules. The new rules took effect July 1 and include significant changes that are intended to make the process of arbitration must more cost-effective and overall a more efficient experience.
The revisions include several completely new rules that are intended to give greater authority to the arbitrator so he or she is able to better control the course of arbitration. The new rules include express authority for the arbitrator to hear and rule and dispositive motions, greater control over the discovery process by arbitrators, scheduling of an early preliminary management hearing that makes it possible to establish pre-hearing procedures and time-lines, express authority for the arbitrator to award sanctions for non-compliance with rules and orders of the arbitrator, mandatory mediation to run concurrently with arbitration, and stricter deadlines and filing requirements for consolidation and joinder motions. There are also several new procedures for an arbitrator to issue emergency protective measures, like a restraining order.
The new rules apply to any construction cases initiated by demand or submission agreement on or after July 1 of the current year, provided the fees and filing requirements are already met and they apply retroactively to contracts prior to July 1st that contain an arbitration clause.
Some of the new rules affect consolidation and joinder, mediation, emergency measures, and sanctions, which are ordered if either party fails to comply with the new rules or the instructions of the arbitrator. Arbitrators are required to give explanation of their rulings in writing