The AAA recently revised its construction industry rules. This article takes a look at Rule L-4 which outlines, for the first time, a variety of case management techniques at the preliminary hearings stage in large, complex cases. Battelle shows how good management at this stage of the process is a key factor in reducing arbitration time, costs, and inconvenience.
Most would agree that the 1996 revisions to the American Arbitration Association’s Construction Industry Arbitration Rules1 (the “Rules”) have modernized the construction arbitration process in many areas. The focus of this article is new Rule L-4 governing preliminary hearings in the “large, complex case.”2 Rule L-4, as outlined in the Association’s 1999 revisions to the Rules, sets out for the first time a comprehensive array of case management techniques and compels inquiry into just what should be taking place, or being accomplished, at this early point in the arbitration process. Should Rule L-4 be applied literally in all cases, or does it represent merely a suggested means of proceeding? How should a panel implement the rule?