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The arbitrator’s immunity from suit and subpoena

The authors discuss the origin, theory, and current application of the doctrine of arbitral immunity. They recommend an “aggressive defense” in response to suit or subpoena, and present possible responses to each.

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A historical review of the evolution of the doctrine of arbitral immunity. Arbitrators are well protected, but even if a claim is summarily dismissed, an arbitrator may incur the expense of attorney’s fees. Insurance policies afford protection for such defense costs.

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An examination of findings and recommendations made by state and federal courts since 1955 in matters of alleged misconduct by labor arbitrators. Allegations of arbitral misconduct are more common in commercial arbitration where, the author speculates, the parties are both less informed in their selection of arbitrators and more willing to seek court reversal of …

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