Resolving Y2K Technology Disputes. : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I see this company is planning ahead. Sorry its a long article.

Fast Track Mediation and Arbitration Procedures (Supplementary to the Commercial Dispute Resolution Procedures) Effective on February 1, 1999


There are widely varying predictions as to what will happen when the clock hits 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2000.

What is certain, however, is that there is a substantial possibility for serious interruptions to commerce followed by the inevitable disputes involving product failure or disruption of critical supply chains. Whether disputes arise in transportation, manufacturing, financial services or health care, it is unlikely that parties will be able to await the results of litigation to resolve their differences. For those parties who cannot resolve their differences themselves, mediation or arbitration, conducted speedily and by a knowledgeable neutral, is the best alternative. These Fast Track Procedures are designed to provide the availability of just such a resolution mechanism.

These procedures have been designed by technology industry experts to promptly and fairly resolve technology disputes. In addition to offering "Fast Track" procedures, the American Arbitration Association has identified over 350 technical and legal experts, who are trained and experienced mediators and arbitrators, to help resolve Y2K disputes.

Mediation is a process that calls for disputing parties to work together with the aid of a neutral facilitator who assists them in reaching a settlement. The mediator's role is advisory and resolution of the dispute rests with the parties. Mediation provides the following benefits in resolving technology disputes:

Party Control Parties are directly engaged in negotiating the settlement. Expert Mediators The mediator, as a neutral third party, can view the dispute objectively and can assist the parties in exploring alternatives that they might not have considered on their own. Timely Settlement Because mediation can be scheduled early in the dispute, a settlement can be reached much more quickly than in litigation. Cost Savings Parties generally save money through reduced legal costs and less staff time. Preservation of Business Relationship Parties enhance the possibility of continuing their business relationship with each other. Settlement Reached The AAA experience has been that parties are able to reach a settlement in 85% of disputes submitted to mediation. Creative Result Creative solutions or accommodations of special needs of the parties can become a part of the settlement. If parties are unable to settle their disputes through mediation, they may wish to submit any unresolved issues to arbitration. Arbitration is the submission of a dispute to one or more impartial persons for a final and binding determination. Arbitration agreements and awards, governed by the U.S. Arbitration Act or state arbitration laws, are legally binding and enforceable in virtually every jurisdiction. Arbitration offers the following advantages:

Confidentiality Arbitration is a private process. There is no public record of the proceedings unless both parties agree. Limited Discovery Expensive, time-consuming discovery is avoided. The arbitrator may arrange for limited exchange of documents, witness lists and depositions appropriate to the particular dispute. Speed There is no docket or backlog in arbitration. Hearings are scheduled as soon as the parties and the arbitrator have dates available. Expert Neutrals The arbitrators are selected from the National Technology Panel, which includes a wide variety of legal and technical experts. Cost Savings Because of the limited discovery and informal hearing procedures, as well as the expedited nature of the process, the parties save on legal fees and transactional costs. Preservation of Business Relationships In most instances, litigation between professionals and their clients destroys the working relationship. Arbitration is less adversarial and, because of its informal nature, it is more likely that the parties will be able to continue their business relationship. The Y2K Program

All procedures under this program are governed by the AAA's Commercial Dispute Resolution Procedures, except as modified herein. By mutual agreement, parties may vary any aspect of this program or the Procedures to meet their particular needs.

This program offers a 'med-arb' option in which the person who serves as the mediator may also serve as the arbitrator in the event of an impasse. This option may only be used when all parties agree to do so, in writing, in advance of the mediation.

The parties agree that notices under this program may be made by mail, facsimile or electronic mail.

Mediation Procedures Fast track mediation procedures:

The process begins when all parties execute a submission of the dispute to these Mediation Rules and Fast Track Procedures.

Parties agree to be available to conduct the mediation within 10 days of the submission. Upon receipt of the submission, the AAA will appoint the mediator agreed to by the parties or, absent such agreement, appoint one from its National Technology Panel. Within a business day (24 hours) of notification to the parties, the mediator will conduct a telephone conference call to address any preliminary issues and to schedule the mediation meeting. If multiple days are needed for the mediation, consecutive days will be scheduled. At least two (2) days prior to the mediation each party shall provide the mediator with a brief memorandum setting forth its position with regard to the issues involved. At the discretion of the mediator, such memoranda may be mutually exchanged by the parties. Parties may, if they reach impasse, submit any unresolved issues to the mediator for a final determination under the following procedures. Med-Arb Option

If a matter reaches impasse in mediation, upon agreement of all parties, in writing, at the time it is submitted to mediation, the mediator may then serve as the arbitrator.

The med-arb option offers the parties the advantage of having the mediator, who has already become familiar with the issues involved, render a final and binding decision on any remaining issues. The disadvantage is that the parties may have shared confidential information regarding settlement with the mediator in caucus which they would not want to have divulged to an arbitrator.

Arbitration Procedures Fast track arbitration may be provided for in the contract between the parties or by submission of an existing dispute. This procedure has been designed to obtain a decision within 105 days of the case filing with the AAA.

The following parameters or guidelines are recommended for fast track arbitration:

The arbitrator will be chosen by the parties from a list of five persons selected by the Association from its National Technology Panel. Each party may strike two names from the list. Within five (5) business days of appointment of the arbitrator there shall be a conference call among the parties and the arbitrator.

The parties will engage in a full and complete exchange of all relevant, non-privileged paper and electronic documents. Document production is subject to the order of the arbitrator and must be accomplished two weeks prior to the scheduled hearing, with exception of documents first used on rebuttal, which will be produced one day prior to the hearing. Absent extreme circumstances, no additional discovery will be permitted.

Direct examination will be presented by affidavit only. In-person witnesses will be called only for cross-examination. No duplicate experts will be permitted. Video conferencing will be acceptable upon agreement of the parties or where ordered by the arbitrator. The hearings will commence within 60 days of the case filing and will be closed within 30 days thereafter. At the hearings, each party will be afforded a maximum of 15 hours to present its case.

The arbitrator's decision will be rendered within 14 days of the close of hearing. The arbitrator shall provide a concise, written award. The arbitrator need not render a reasoned award unless the parties request such an award in writing prior to appointment of the arbitrator or unless the arbitrator determines that a reasoned award is appropriate.

The Association's Commercial Dispute Resolution Procedures may be obtained at the AAA's World Wide Web home page at or through the AAA's customer service department at 1.800.778.7879.

-- y2k dave (, June 23, 1999


QUESTION>can arbitrators be bought,like lawyer,s can be bought?

-- al-d. (CATT@ZIANET.COM), June 24, 1999.

(1) Many of the arbitrators are attorneys.

(2) A recent article in a Honolulu paper had a statement in an article about a deceased drug dealer, that (a few years back) he had bought his way out of a murder conviction by paying off the judge. Is that what you mean by pasying off the lawyers?

-- Mad Monk (, June 24, 1999.

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