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The American Arbitration Association has made some needed updates to their Construction Industry Arbitration and Mediation Rules, effective July 1, 2015. Among the changes listed at their website are:
• A mediation step for all cases with claims of $100,000 or more (subject to the ability of any party to opt out).• Consolidation and joinder time frames and filing requirements to streamline these increasingly involved issues in construction arbitrations.• New preliminary hearing rules to provide more structure and organization to get the arbitration process on the right track from the beginning.• Information exchange measures to give arbitrators a greater degree of control to limit the exchange of information, including electronic documents.• Availability of emergency measures of protection in contracts that have been entered into on or after July 1, 2015.• Enforcement power of the arbitrator to issue orders to parties that refuse to comply with the Rules or the arbitrator’s orders.• Permissibility of dispositive motions to dispose of all or part of a claim or to narrow the issue in a claim.
Many of these changes are necessary and both give some emphasis to mediation (something near to my heart) and give the neutral more enforcement power that before. Of course, this is just a brief set of bullets from AAA, I recommend that you get the full rules (linked from the site linked above) and discuss any contractual ADR provisions or these rules with an experienced construction attorney.
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