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mediationAngela represents a claimant in an Ad Hoc arbitration. The arbitration clause incorporates the Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association. It’s been eight weeks since Angela made a motion asking the arbitrator to clarify her client’s discovery rights and in particular whether or not claimant could conduct multiple depositions. Angela has spoken to her adversary and asked if she would support a joint inquiry about the status of the motion. She refused. What can and should Angela do?

Both the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §§1-16 (FAA) and the CPLR (Article 75) allow for review of an arbitrators conduct once an award has issued.  See 9 U.S.C. §10 and 75 CPLR §7511. Both make provision for the appointment of an arbitrator if the parties have failed to do so, or a vacancy occurs. The FAA doesn’t speak to what might happen if an arbitrator “fails to act.” The CPLR allows removal for a failure to act and courts cite an “inherit power to disqualify an arbitrator before an award has been rendered. Astoria Medical Group v. Health Ins. Plan, 11 N.Y.2d 128, 132 (1962)

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