California Law to Force Publication of Arbitration Hearings
In an effort to decrease the attractiveness of arbitration as an avenue of dispute resolution, California recently passed a new law that will require major arbitration providers to publish detailed information regarding the arbitrations they have handled. This new law will likely destroy the privacy
New California Arbitration Information LawThe law, previously known as AB 802, is intended to amend section 1281.96 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. The current law regulates arbitration procedures conducted pursuant to an arbitration agreement. In addition, the existing law requires any private arbitration company to collect and publish certain information regarding their arbitration cases and make that information available to the public. The new law requires that private arbitration companies collect additional information related to each case, and publish all the information in a single cumulative report. The arbitration companies will be required to publish these reports quarterly with information gathered from the previous five years. The new law does not apply to consumer arbitrations administered by the private arbitration companies before January 1, 2015.
Additional Information PublishedThe new law requires that private arbitration companies publish a report that includes the following information for each dispute that it handled: 1) Whether arbitration was demanded pursuant to a pre-dispute arbitration clause and, if so, whether that clause designated the specific private arbitration company; 2) The name of the non-consumer party, whether the non-consumer party is a corporation or other business entity, and whether the non-consumer party was the initiating or responding party; 3) The nature of the dispute and, if the dispute involved employment, the amount of the employee's annual wage; 4) Whether the consumer or non-consumer party prevailed; 5) The total number of occasions, if any, the non-consumer party has previously been a party in an arbitration or mediation administered by the private arbitration company; 6) Whether the consumer party was represented by an attorney and, if so, the name of the attorney and the full name of the law firm that employs the attorney; 7) The dates that the private arbitration company received the demand for arbitration, the arbitrator was appointed, and the disposition by the arbitrator or private arbitration company; 8) The type of disposition of the dispute; if the case was administered in a hearing, whether the hearing was conducted in person, by telephone or video conference, or by documents only; 9) The amount of the claim; whether equitable relief was requested or awarded; the monetary award, attorney's fees and other relief granted, if any; and 10) The name of the arbitrator, his or her total fee for the case, the percentage of the arbitrator's fee allocated to each party, whether any fees were waived and, if so, the amount of the waiver.