Jim Butler is a partner in Atlanta’s Smith, Currie & Hancock, where he practices construction arbitration and litigation, and negotiates public and private construction contracts, and environmental issues. He serves on the AAA’s construction panel and is a member of the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Construction Industry.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Stolt-Nielsen S.A. et al. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp. could have a significant impact on the consolidation procedure in Rule R-7 of the American Arbitration Association Construction Industry Arbitration Rules. This article reviews the case law on consolidation and considers how Stolt-Nielsen could affect the arbitrator’s authority under Rule R-7.
Whether multiple arbitrations involving some of the same parties and issues should be consolidated is an issue that often arises in arbitration. This article discusses the American Arbitration Association (AAA) Construction Industry Arbitration Rules1 applicable to consolidation and the case law, and considers the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Stolt-Nielsen S.A. et al. v. AnimalFeeds International Corp. on the ability of arbitrators to consolidate separate arbitrations.2