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Beyond Boilertplate Language: How Non-Standard Arbitration Clauses Can Cause Different Results

Joel M. Grossman, Esq.
Joel M. Grossman, Esq.
JAMS Mediator, Arbitrator, Referee/Special Master, Neutral Evaluator

Published November 1, 2017

Lawyers who practice in California are familiar with the notion, set forth by the California Supreme Court in Moncharsh v. Heily & Blase, 1 that an arbitrator’s determination of a case before him or her is subject to very limited judicial review, and will not be vacated because of the arbitrator’s errors of fact or law. As the court later stated in Cable Connection, Inc. v. DIRECTV, Inc.,2 this rule is “consistent with the usual expectations of parties to arbitration agreements, who accept the risk of legal error in exchange for the benefits of a quick, inexpensive, and conclusive resolution.”3 In other words, parties who submit a dispute to the arbitrator for resolution must hope he or she gets it right, because courts will vacate the award under only narrow and limited circumstances.

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