Allen Poppleton is a partner in the law firm of Weinberg and Green in Baltimore, Maryland. This article was originally presented as an address at the American Arbitration Association's Arbitration Day in New York City on June 12, 7987.
Complex commercial arbitration need not be expensive and time consuming if the arbitrators insist upon proceeding expeditiously. Neither the rules of the American Arbitration Association nor the general law of commercial arbitration precludes arbitrators from exercising this power.
In a recent complex, multimillion-dollar case, the parties estimated that more than 110 hearing days would be required to present their claims, counterclaims, and defenses and, further, that such hearings would require more than two years to complete. The arbitrators insisted upon time-saving procedures, however, and as a result, the case was heard in nine hearing days and the award was rendered in less than eight months after the arbitrators were selected.
One of the arbitrators who presided in that case describes the procedures employed to achieve such results.