Frequently Asked Questions

What is your approach to arbitration?

Parties choose arbitration to resolve their disputes for a number of reasons:  because it's more efficient and economical; because they seek finality in order to move on in their lives or businesses; because it's private; because they want to choose their decision-maker.  I try to ascertain the parties' intent and manage the case - from start to finish - accordingly.

Do you follow the law?

Yes.

What should I expect in a preliminary hearing?

I work with the parties to map out and calendar every aspect of the dispute, including discovery, dispositive motions, status conferences, pre-hearing briefing, the evidentiary hearing, and post-hearing briefing. Through my years of serving as an arbitrator, I have learned that the more thorough the roadmap, the more efficient the arbitration. I distribute an agenda prior to the preliminary hearing and ask the parties to meet and confer before we convene.

Will you consider and grant dispositive motions?

Yes. I follow the American Arbitration Association procedure of requiring the moving party to make a showing that the motion is likely to succeed and dispose of or narrow the issues in the case. If the moving party succeeds in making that showing, we proceed to briefing and a hearing on the dispositive motion. I believe that this approach meets an important goal of arbitration: to efficiently and economically resolve a dispute. I will not, however, consider a dispositive motion where one party is pro se. The scheduling of dispositive motions is built into the initial Scheduling Order issued after the preliminary hearing.

Have you ruled for both sides - claimants and respondents?

Yes.  I go where the law and facts take me, no matter who the party is.  I do not "split the baby".  The exception is when the law and facts demand that I do so, in other words, when each party has prevailed on their respective claim or counterclaim. 

What is your approach to managing discovery?

In one word: proportionality. I adhere to the spirit of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b) with respect to assessing the need for discovery.  It states:

Parties may obtain discovery regarding any non-privileged matter that is relevant to any party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of the case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in the action, the amount in controversy, the parties’ relative access to relevant information, the parties’ resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit. Information within this scope of discovery need not be admissible in evidence to be discoverable.

How about e-discovery?

Nearly every dispute involves some - or a lot - of e-discovery. I have developed an e-discovery protocol that will be discussed at the preliminary hearing. Actively managing e-discovery is central to controlling costs.

What kind of Award do you render?

I typically render a Reasoned Award.  I want the parties to understand why I arrived at my decision.  If the parties want some other form of Award, however, it is their choice.

Can we interview you?

Absolutely.  The most important decision in an arbitration is the choice of the decision-maker.  I am available to be interviewed by the parties about my experience, management style and process.

Why choose you?

I understand both the law and the arbitration process.  I have been a litigator, in-house counsel, and an arbitrator.  I manage the process actively to achieve efficiency and economy, and yet understand that arbitration is the parties' process.  I am deeply analytical and thus able to understand complex legal concepts; yet I also actively listen to people and evaluate evidence carefully.  I actively seek to improve my skills as an arbitrator - and am frequently ask to teach those skills to other arbitrators.

Do you serve as a mediator?

Yes.  I have a facilitative approach, combined with strong evaluative skills designed to assist the parties reach their own resolution.  However, I will not serve as a mediator in a matter in which I am sitting as an arbitrator.