Generally speaking, at the preliminary hearing in the arbitration, the arbitrator will usually go over the ground rules, establish a discovery schedule (if discovery is permitted or mutually agreed upon) and maybe set the arbitration hearing date. The arbitrator will probably also want to know if there are any issues that to be resolved.
However, much of what transpires at a preliminary hearing will depend upon which rules of arbitration apply. Each tribunal will have its own rules.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.
You have a lot of questions that would require a lot more information in order to give you a good response. For most of your questions, especially since you are dealing with a lot of issues and multiple parties, you should consult with a local attorney.
Regarding the initial hearing - usually what occurs is the arbitrator sets the schedule for various events, and helps the parties reach an agreement on what kind of discovery they want to do, what pre-hearing issues need to be decided, whether the parties will be using experts and if so, what disclosures will be done, whether there will be depositions, and other similar matters.
While arbitration is generally less formal than court litigation, it is not really any simpler.
You should consult with an attorney to help or represent you.
You should get a lawyer experienced in arbitration and the type of case involved. However, the preliminary hearing is a time for the arbitrator to discuss the basic rules for the arbitration, establshing the date and amount of time needed for the hearing, the number of parties and witnesses, discovery to be accomplished, whether the rules of evidence will be strictly followed, etc.
Your rules may also depend on whether this is a court ordered arbitration in which you will need to follow the rules of that State and Local Court, American Arbitration Association or ...? Good luck.
Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.