Courts and arbitrators across the nation, faced with pandemic-generated, unprecedented backlogs, seem more willing to entertain docket-clearing motions.
While for some practitioners, dispositive motion practice in arbitration presents a new challenge. Yet, dispositive motions have existed in arbitration almost as long as arbitration itself. Now, however, parties appear to be truly embracing them.
Recently, arbitrators have witnessed an increase in requests for leave to file dispositive motions as parties dealing with the economic fallout of the pandemic attempt to resolve disputes more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.
As more practitioners turn to arbitration to resolve disputes, they increasingly look to dispositive motion practice to promptly adjudicate them. Still, some arbitrators have questioned their authority to entertain dispositive motions. Others hesitate to dispose of the arbitration before it really starts when it may well be the claimant’s only course of redress.
Still others, like the author, view dispositive motions as a potential opportunity to narrow and resolve issues fairly and efficiently for both parties. So, where do arbitrators obtain the power to consider dispositive motions?