Arbitrator Disclosure in the Internet Age - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 67, No. 1
Ruth V. Glick is a full-time mediator and arbitrator in the San Francisco Bay area. She has broad experience in resolving financial, business contract and tort, labor and employment, tech nology, real estate, and healthcare disputes. She is on the national commercial, Large, Complex Case, labor, and employment panels of the AAA. For further information see her Web site at www.ruthvglick.com.
Laura J. Stipanowich is a litigation associate with the Atlanta office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, where she focuses her practice on construction litigation.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
Internet connectivity, social and professional media Web sites, and group e-mail management systems allow arbitrators to communicate online, participate in activities, and develop social and professional relationships online. How do arbitrator disclosure obligations apply to these online activities, communications, and relationships? There is no case law that specifically answers this question. Arbitrators must resort to arbitrator ethics codes, arbitration rules, and case law on arbitrator disclosure, as well as state ethics opinions on online activity of judges, which could be applied to arbitrators. This article examines these sources of guidanceon this developing issue.
Trust in a fair arbitration process requires the engagement of impartial and independent arbitrators who can determine the issues submitted to arbitration free of bias. Federal and state disclosure standards, as well as rules prescribed by arbitration providers and codes of ethics for arbitrators, place an affirmative duty on arbitrators to disclose any connection or relationship they may have to the dispute and its participants, and any advantage they may gain by resolving it. In certain circumstances, nondisclosure of actual or potential conflicts of interest can have serious consequences - the filing of a petition to vacate the award.