AAA Devises a Solution
To remedy this situation, AAA included a footnote to the Commercial Arbitration Rules Rule R-1. The footnote states that beginning June 1, 2021, the AAA will apply the Consumer Arbitration Fee Schedule to any dispute between an online marketplace or platform and an individual user or subscriber (using or subscribed to the service as an individual and not incorporated) when the dispute does not involve work or work-related claims.
Consumer Fee Schedule—Single Case Filing
The Consumer Fee Schedule limits the initial filing fees incurred by the non-business entity and shifts the balance of the fees to the business. A portion of the initial filing fees for both the non-business entity and the business are non-refundable, with the non-refundable portion determined by the number of arbitrators. There is no additional administrative fee for a counterclaim.
Arbitrator compensation is either a set flat rate or a daily rate pending upon the type of hearing. Cases on which arbitrators are to be compensated with a daily rate, the rate includes one preliminary hearing, one day of in-person, virtual or telephonic hearing, and one final award. AAA sets the compensation rate based on hearing days, but for cases with additional procedures, the business will be responsible for additional compensation.
Consumer Fee Schedule for Multiple Consumer Case Filings
The Consumer Fee Schedule includes a different fee schedule for multiple consumer case filings. The multiple case filing fee applies to all cases determined by AAA to meet the multiple case filing requirements. A multiple case filing consists of 25 or more cases with similar claims filed against or on behalf of the same party or parties and counsel for the parties is consistent or coordinated across all cases. The filing fee for the non-business entity and the business are tiered based upon the total number of cases filed, ranging from $100 to $50 per case for the non-business entity and $300 to $75 per case for the business.
Supplementary Rules for Multiple Case Filings
If AAA decides to apply the Consumer Fee Schedule for Multiple Consumer Case Filings, AAA may also decide to apply the Multiple Case Filings Supplementary Rules. In response to the coordinated mass filing of individual arbitrations, the AAA issued Supplementary Rules for Multiple Case Filings effective August 1, 2021. The AAA developed the Supplementary Rules to streamline the administration of large volume filings involving the same or related party, parties, and party representative(s) for disputes where the Employment/Workplace Fee Schedule or the Consumer Fee Schedule apply.