Arbitration – A Viable Alternative for Dispute Resolution | Gregg Bertram. Arbitrator Seattle

Arbitration – A Viable Alternative for Dispute Resolution | Gregg Bertram. Arbitrator Seattle

I’m a mediator and arbitrator based in Seattle,
Washington. I’m a full time mediator and arbitrator.
Today, I’m talking about arbitration, the second most popular form of alternative dispute
resolution to mediation. The only real similarity that arbitration
has to mediation is its privacy or confidentiality. While that isn’t guaranteed, most commercial
arbitration rules provide for confidentiality. Otherwise, it’s very different.
It much more resembles trial in a more private setting.
Testimony is taken under oath. There are evidentiary rules.
The parties have some latitude to agree on those rules, but it is a much more structured,
formal and usually binding process than mediation. Whether arbitration is preferable to trial,
often depends on the subject matter of the dispute.
The parties get to choose the arbitrator, and when they decide to arbitrate, or when
they contractually are obligated to arbitrate, they have the opportunity to choose a decision
maker or decision makers who have subject matter expertise in the nature of the dispute.
There’s no guarantee that a judge will have any subject matter expertise in any dispute
that comes before him or her in court. It can also be preferable and possible to
resolve a dispute much sooner via arbitration than court.
That may depend on arbitration management, although timelines can and are sometimes imposed
in arbitration agreements themselves. In other words, this dispute will be arbitrated
within 30 or 60 days, for example, by contract. Those provisions can be included in pre-dispute
arbitration agreements or in post-dispute arbitration agreements that are sort of custom
designed by the attorneys for the parties. Arbitration receives a lot of criticism online
and in the literature for simply mirroring the inefficiencies of the civil justice system.
To avoid that, to make arbitration efficient, requires management and much of that management
has to flow from the arbitrator or arbitrators. Often attorneys and their clients are incapable
of efficient case management, so it has to be imposed from the top down.
Experienced arbitrators know how to do it. They usually have rules.
The American Arbitration Association and JAMS are two organizations that have developed
and revised arbitration rules for decades. These rules, these and other rules, the Federal
Arbitration Act is another, empower arbitrators to control the process.
While I’ve mediated thousands of cases, I’ve arbitrated several hundred.
And the several hundred are not several hundred of the same kind of case.
I’ve acted alone; I’ve acted as a member of arbitration panels in business, real estate,
employment, maritime, personal injury, professional negligence disputes.
I’ve also received a great deal of high quality arbitration training from both JAMS and the
American Arbitration Association. The totality of these experiences have helped
me become, I believe, an able arbitrator. At the same time, with arbitration, there’s
necessarily a winner and a loser. And in any given case, the loser is usually
quite displeased, usually at some financial cost, and they are not likely to bestow accolades
upon the arbitrator. I’m no exception.

3 thoughts on “Arbitration – A Viable Alternative for Dispute Resolution | Gregg Bertram. Arbitrator Seattle

  1. Mr. Betram,

    Thanks for producing this short video but someone needs to identify the pitfalls that are abundant through AAA/ICDR. For example, how to force them to act transparently. I was hired by a Florida US defense contractor to teach English at a Saudi Royal Air Force Base. I am currently in Saudi Arabia. The employment issue spawned immediately after filing a Department of Defense, Inspector General complaint after the employer ignored health issues that affected one third of the employees. Federal OSHA identified that US contractors are to act as an agent of OSHA. The employment agreement cited in simple terms that AAA would arbitrate.

    On 07 August, 2015, an ICDR VP without notice or any signs closed the case (AAA Case No: 01 15 0003 7901 Wallace v. B3H Corp) while the parties were in the administrative phase. The parties were ordered to file the case in the court. To date, AAA/ICDR will not identify why they dropped the case, the laws, procedures or other followed, and will not respond to emails or phone calls.An ICDR subordinate last week stated the case was still active in their system. ICDR has no complaint mechanism. Their nonprofit board directors are not identified on their website.
    In addition, Florida, New York and federal law all support arbitration.

    There were some mishaps in the process. ICDR scheduled an administrative conference call but was unable to make an international call to a cell phone in Saudi Arabia, ICDR and respondent then conducted the conference call in the absence of the complainant. Respondent then promptly emailed complainant with the details of that meeting. ICDR was already angling to have the hearing in Florida, even though myself, the witnesses’ to include managers, Saudi military officers, Saudi doctors and other evidence is in the Kingdom. ICDR was also going to use a paper only process even though the claim was 150-250k, because ICDR could not place an international call and would not explain why. An Article 28: Waiver, was immediately filed and ICDR took ten days and three additional emails to acknowledge the notice, but never formally addressed it. ICDR then assigned a new case counselor/administrator. On 05 August filed written information from the parties was due, and I complied, Respondent never responded and ICDR dropped the case two days later.

    Since 2006, Saudi Arabia has an arbitration process supported by the government and the courts. ICDR appeared to act on the behalf of the interest of the corporation and later, itself. As a result, there appears to be no mechanism to gain AAA/ICDR to be responsive and transparent.

    Jake Wallace

  2. Nobody addresses how lawyers use the court to make arbitration rulings! Example keeping another person out of arbitration even though they are vital to the arbitration case! How is it that lawyers make a deal in arbitration instead of having the AAA case come before Arbitrator?? Something stinks!

  3. Mr Bertram can you do video on why AAA breaches their contract and there is no court arbitration as stated in contract? Not you but, you the man are you willing to address this, because isn't the arbitrator suppose to follow guidelines set forth or does AAA get to change again not you,but you are the best at this and make videos so I am asking for video to shed light on what doesn't happen in AAA!!!

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