When reviewing a proposed design or construction contract, the responding party will often do a cursory check to see whether the contract proposes arbitration or litigation for dispute resolution. So long as the proposed method generally aligns with that party’s preferences, it will not look further at the specifics of the proposed process. For the uninitiated, this can lead to surprises when a dispute arises, especially when it comes to issues like whether the arbitration will be held before a single arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators, the rules that will apply to the arbitration, and the scope of discovery.
Construction and design attorneys, on the other hand, spend many working hours (and sometimes nonworking hours) contemplating these exact issues. I have developed a checklist of items that I advise my clients to consider in their arbitration provisions. The combined goal of these considerations is eliminating surprises if a dispute arises and balancing efficiency with the desire for a fair process. Typically, that checklist includes the following topics:
- Rules applicable to the arbitration
- Single arbitrator or panel of arbitrators?
- Scope of discovery
- Maximizing opportunity for resolution in a single proceeding
The full article, including details on each of these topics can be found at What Parties Ought To Consider When Considering Arbitration Provisions | Stoel Rives LLP.
This article was originally published in by the Daily Journal of Commerce on April 20, 2023.