601:510. ARBITRATION ( 2 or 3 credits)
Arbitration is growing in complexity and popularity. It is an alternative to court, with rules and case law unique to it. Unlike mediation, it is a binding form of dispute resolution. It is also controversial. Some businesses find its promise of speedy and cost-effective resolution to be a mirage. Certain government agencies, judges, and consumers find it to be an unfair process. While others see it as a viable alternative for businesses seeking to rid themselves of the judicial process altogether. From a theoretical academic perspective, arbitration law continues to be a battle between the application of the statutory language of the Federal Arbitration Act, which Congress passed in 1925 to protect arbitration agreements from judicial hostility, and common law contract interpretation. This course will blend the theoretical and practical teachings of arbitration, focusing primarily on domestic arbitration issues. Topics for discussion will include:
(1) What is the meaning of “arbitration”?
(2) How do you determine what disputes are “arbitrable”?
(3) Can arbitration clauses insulate companies from class action liability?
(4) When do the principles of contract common law align and conflict with the FAA?
(5) How do you get into arbitration?
(6) How do you pick an arbitrator?
(7) When is an arbitrator conflicted out?
(8) What are the procedures and discovery rules unique to arbitration?
(9) How do you get an arbitration award enforced?
The course will include lecture using the Socratic method (but in a supportive way) and also practical exercises. There are two strongly recommended prerequisites: (1) all students should have taken first year contracts; and (2) all students should have a strong predisposition to class participation.