The American Arbitration Association (AAA) revised the Commercial Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures to assist parties in obtaining an orderly, economical, and expeditious procedure. With a focus on process improvements, the updated rules, effective September 1, 2022, include revisions in a number of key areas, including consolidation and joinder, use of technology, enhanced speed and economy, and greater security and privacy. In addition, a number of updates reinforce the arbitrator’s authority to control discovery and motion practice.
Changes to the Expedited Procedures
Revised Rule R-1 (a) increases the upper limit for the application of the Expedited Procedures from $75,000 to $100,000. Rule R-39 excludes cases administered pursuant to the Expedited Procedures from seeking emergency measures of protection under Rule R-39 (former Rule R-38). Expedited Procedure E-5 includes a prohibition on discovery, beyond the exhibit exchange provided for in E-5(a), and on motions absent good cause as determined by the arbitrator. If the arbitrator allows discovery for good cause, E-8(b) allows AAA in consultation with the arbitrator to remove the case from the Expedited Procedures and the limitation on compensation in accordance with E-10(b). E-7 provides that an evidentiary hearing occur within 60 days after the preliminary hearing, or as otherwise mutually agreed to between the parties and the arbitrator. The arbitrator may determine the method of hearing. These changes reinforce AAA’s commitment to speed and economy in the arbitration process, especially in cases with smaller claim amounts.
Changes to Large Complex Case Procedures
Revised Rule R-1(b) raises the threshold for application of these procedures from cases where any claim is at $500,000 to at least $1,000,000. In addition, L-2 raises the threshold claim amount for a panel of three arbitrators from $1,000,000 to at least $3,000,000.