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Posts tagged "Massachusetts Uniform Arbitration Act"

Getting To Arbitration

Massachusetts law recognizes arbitration as "a remedy created by statute which limits its availability to the parties to an arbitration agreement."  Rae F. Gill, P.C. v. DiGiovanni, 34 Mass.App.Ct. 498, 503 (1993).  In other words, a statute - the Massachusetts Arbitration Act (G.L. c. 251) ("MAA") - creates the ability for parties to settle their legal disputes through arbitration, but those parties also must have a prior agreement to do so.  But what happens when one party refuses to arbitrate? 

Challenging An Arbitration Award

Alternative dispute resolution is rightly gaining steam as an efficient, fair mechanism for the resolution of complex business disputes.  Many companies are redrafting their standard-form contracts to include mandatory arbitration clauses.  This is particularly true for companies doing business across state or national borders, so that they might avoid being hauled into court in a foreign jurisdiction.  But what if you agree to arbitrate a business dispute and end up losing?  Do you have any recourse?

Compelling Arbitration in Massachusetts

Like other states, Massachusetts has enacted an arbitration statute that provides a streamlined procedure for compelling a party to arbitrate.  Section 1 of the Massachusetts Uniform Arbitration Act, G.L. c. 251, recognizes two types of arbitration agreements: (i) those requiring parties to a contract to submit any dispute arising between them to arbitration, and (ii) those requiring parties to submit an existing dispute to arbitration.  If a party reneges on either type of agreement, the aggrieved party can file an application in the Massachusetts Superior Courts to compel arbitration.  Such applications are heard as motions and typically must be served on the non-arbitrating party in the manner required for original writs of summons, though the parties can agree, and often do agree, on another procedure for service.

Challenging an Arbitration Award in Massachusetts

Alternative dispute resolution is rightly gaining steam as an efficient, fair mechanism for the resolution of complex business disputes.  Many companies are redrafting their standard-form contracts to include mandatory arbitration clauses.  This is particularly true for companies doing business across state or national borders, so that they might avoid being hauled into court in a foreign jurisdiction.  But what if you agree to arbitrate a dispute and end up losing?  Do you have any recourse? 

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