Waiver Of Arbitration by Not Submitting Claim to Initial Decision Maker…Really!

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If you want an arbitrator to resolve your disputes, you need to ensure there is an arbitration provision in your contract.

August 30, 2021
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution that is a creature of contract. If you want an arbitrator to resolve your disputes, you need to ensure there is an arbitration provision in your contract. There are pros and cons to arbitration. One con is you lose the right to appeal. A couple of pros, however, are that your arbitrator(s), which you generally have some control in the selection of, will be versed in the construction industry and it can be a more efficient forum to resolve disputes in the times of COVID. Once you have your scheduling conference with the appointed arbitrator(s), you will be able to agree upon a set final hearing (trial) time and have milestone dates that work backwards from the final hearing date. This is much more efficient than being placed on an unrealistic trial docket or having to deal with the gamesmanship of motions just to be able to get your case at-issue for trial.

However, the right to arbitrate your dispute can be waived. This was the issue in Leder v. Imburgia Construction Services, Inc., 2021 WL 3177338 (Fla. 3d DCA 2021), which I will be the first to tell you the ruling is quite baffling to me. In a nutshell, the contractor, by not complying with the submission of a claim to the Initial Decision Maker was found to have waived the dispute resolution provision in the AIA contract. Not sure this makes sense, but this was the ruling.

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com



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