Drafting Dispute Resolution Clauses In Complex Business Transactions - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 51, No. 1
Howard J. Aibel is a partner in the firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae and is the former executive vice president and chief legal officer of ITT Corporation. He has acted as an arbitrator and mediator in many ADR proceedings and is currently the chairman of the board of the AAA.
George H. Friedman is senior vice president–Midwest and South of the AAA. He is the former national vice president for case administration and director of the Association’s New York City Region. He also serves as staff director of the AAA’s Large, Complex Case Program.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
The Supreme Court's recent decision in Mastrobuono v. Shearson Lehman Hutton, Inc.,1 reaffirmed the concept that under the United States Arbitration Act,2 private arbitration is a creature of the agreement between the parties. Thus, the court ruled that a choice of law clause which specified New York law, which forbids arbitrators from awarding punitive damages, did not in itself establish that the parties agreed to limit the arbitral award to compensatory damages. The court remanded the case for a determination as to whether in fact the parties had so agreed. Thus, in a broad sense, the court's decision teaches that one must look first to the parties' agreement to arbitrate, to determine the nature of the proceeding and the powers of the arbitrators.
Every year, millions of business contracts are written which include provisions which establish dispute resolution procedures for use by the parties. Many if not most of these predispute resolution provisions incorporate by reference the rules of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) administrative agency, such as those promulgated by the American Arbitration Association (AAA).3