Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is commonly used in business transactions and for consumer complaints. Many contracts contain arbitration clauses that require disputes be submitted to binding arbitration. When an arbitrator hears a case and makes a decision on the issues, that decision is final unless the decision is appealed. Arbitration is very different from mediation, which is usually voluntary and which relies on the parties with the disagreement to resolve their own issues.
A San Diego arbitration lawyer can help you to understand the appeals process for arbitration. Contact Sepahi Law Group, APC for help throughout the arbitration process and for assistance with appealing a decision that the arbitrator has made.
Understanding the Appeals Process for Arbitration
If you are not happy with a decision that was made by an arbitrator, you can contest the decision in court. The Federal Arbitration Act, as well as state laws, govern the appeals process for arbitration.
Some arbitration agreements require that an appellate arbitration panel review decisions when they have been contested by one of the parties to arbitration. However, even when this requirement exists, the decision made can still be appealed to the court if there are questions about whether the outcome was a fair and appropriate one.
The grounds for appealing a decision by an arbitrator are very limited. While you can take your case to court, the court is not going to substitute its own decision for the arbitrator’s ruling. In order for the arbitration decision to be overturned, you would need to make an argument that either:
- The agreement to arbitrate the dispute is unfair or unconscionable.
- The manner in which the arbitration took place was unconscionable or unfair.
Arbitration agreements are unconscionable if they are unreasonable in favoring the drafter. The court can carefully review the agreement and the process of arbitration in order to determine if all parties were treated fairly and if the process was appropriate. If the agreement or process of arbitration was clearly biased or benefited the interests of one party over the other, then the appeals process for arbitration may be successful.
The court can strike portions of arbitration agreements that it finds to be unfair, which may include some or all of the agreement. The court can also void or vacate the decision made by the arbitrator if it determines that the agreement or arbitration process were not fair to all parties. As part of the appeals process for arbitration, the court could release the parties from the agreement and allow the issue to be litigated instead of being decided in arbitration.
Binding arbitration is only effective if there are limited grounds on which agreements or decisions can be challenged. Parties to arbitration need to have some closure and certainty that the decision made by the arbitrator is a final one. This is why the appeals process for arbitration is limited.
A San Diego arbitration lawyer can help you to understand the appeals process for arbitration and assist in making a compelling argument to the court if you become involved in an arbitration appeal. Call today to speak with Sepahi Law Group, APC to learn more.