The American Arbitration Association’s (“AAA”) newly-revised Commercial Arbitration Rules became effective on October 1, 2013, for arbitrations filed on or after that date. The revised rules include several substantive changes. Given the prevalence of arbitration provisions incorporating these rules in franchise and distribution agreements, the revisions are important for franchise and distribution practitioners to know and understand. Litigators will need to be familiar with the changes as they work through disputes to be arbitrated under the new rules, and transactional lawyers will want to take careful note of the changes as they decide whether to continue to incorporate AAA arbitration in the agreements they negotiate.
Five changes warrant particular discussion: