Dispute Resolution News
Official Publication of the Atlanta Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section
In This Issue
Happy Holidays from the Dispute Resolution Section
Upcoming Events
18th Annual Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute
Time to File to Confirm Georgia Arbitration Awards is Not Tolled by Clarification Requests
Arbitrator Immunity
State and Federal Courts are to Honor Arbitration Agreements
The Dispute Resolution News is Looking for Articles of Interest
Quick Links
 
 
Winter 2011
Newsletter Editor: 
John F. Allgood
 
Dispute Resolution Section Board of Directors
 
Chair: Robert N. Dokson
Vice Chair/Chair-Elect: Emory Speer Mabry III
Secretary/Treasurer: Herbert H. (Hal) Gray III
Immediate Past Chair: Robert B. Wedge

Members-At-Large
John F. Allgood
William Beringer
Cicely Breckenridge
Hala Carey
Terrence L. Croft
William S. Goodman
Daniel E. Gulden
Rex D. Smith 
Happy Holidays from the Section
blue ornamentsThe Dispute Resolution Section would like to wish you a happy holiday season. 
 
Thank you for making 2011 such a rewarding year for the
Section.  We hope to make 2012 an even more successful year!  May this season bring you peace, joy and happiness throughout the New Year.
 
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendars for our upcoming Section Breakfast
 
Next Section Breakfast
Wednesday, January 4 - 7:30 am
at the Buckhead Club
 
"Ten Things Lawyers Like/Hate About Mediators"
 
Panelists:
Bennet Alsher, Ford & Harrison LLP
Philip E. Beck, Smith Currie & Hancock LLP
Pete Law, Law & Moran
William H. Major III, Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP
 
Moderator:
Herbert H. Gray III, Ragsdale Beals Seigler Patterson & Gray
 
1 CLE hour available

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Mark your calendars for these other upcoming Section Breakfast Meetings at the Buckhead Club
 
- Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 7:30 am
- Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 7:30 am
- Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 7:30 am
- Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 7:30 am
 
Check your emails for updates on breakfast topics and speakers or visit www.atlantabar.org.
 
18th Annual Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute and the 2011 Neutrals' Conference
Friday, December 9, 2011
at the State Bar of Georgia Conference Center
 
6 CLE Hours including 1.5 Ethics Hour, 1 Professionalism Hour (optional, self-report) and 3 Trial Practice Hours
 
Topics include:
- Alternative Arbitration Avenues: Traditional,
  Collaborative, Cooperative and Med-Arb
- Better Dispute Resolution Practice Through Science
- Looking inside Mediation Around the World
- How to Increase Settlement Rates with Help from
  the Court
- Dodging Lies and Making Deals: The Science of Lie
  Detection and Emotional Truthfulness
- Herding Cats - Multiple-Party Mediations
- Hired Pens - Tips on Improving the Product and Process
  of Agreement Writing
- Out of the Ashes: 9/11 - A Cinematic Study of Mediation
 
For additional information and to register for this program, visit the ICLE website.
 
Time to File to Confirm Georgia
Arbitration Awards is Not Tolled by Clarification Requests
scales and bookThe Georgia Arbitration Code requires that an arbitration award must be confirmed by filing with the courts within one year of the delivery of the award, unless the award is vacated or modified.  See O.C.G.A. 9-9-12. The Georgia Court of Appeals refused to overturn this time limit in a recent case that asked the Georgia courts to recognize a tolling of this time period where a trial court issued an order directing the parties to seek clarification of the arbitrator award just over the one year time period.
 
In Riddick v. Williams & Bowling Developers, LLC A11A0887 (09/14/11), the appellants filed a suit in January 2006.  The appellees filed a motion to compel arbitration, which was granted.  After a hearing, the arbitrator issued an award dated April 7, 2007, in favor of the claimants but without assessment of damages against the individual respondents.
 
On April 21, 2008, more than a year after the date of the award, the trial court directed the parties to seek a clarification from the arbitrator on individual liability.  The arbitrator issued a response dated May 28, 2008, indicating that he had considered individual liability and rejected the claim.  The appellants did not receive this response until May 6, 2009, and they then filed on January 7, 2010,
to confirm the award, three years after the initial date
of delivery.

 
 
Arbitrator Immunity
In a recent FINRA arbitration case, the panel disqualified the counsel for one of the parties based on a FINRA rule that barred persons suspended from representation by the securities industry.  The plaintiff was not an attorney and had been suspended in 1991 by the securities industry.  The panel relied upon the provision of the FINRA rules which stated the panel has the authority to interpret and determine all applicable provisions under the Code.
 
The plaintiff, Sacks, then sued the arbitrators in the Marin County Superior Court in California., alleging inter alia that the arbitrators action to disqualify him exceeded the scope of their authority under FINRA rules and state law and amounted to tortuous interference.  The case was removed to federal court and the district court granted a motion to dismiss with prejudice the plaintiff's case, based on the complaints being barred by arbitral immunity.
 
On appeal the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court confirming that there was jurisdiction under federal law over the question at issue even though the claims were framed in terms of state law.  The court stated that liability was predicated on subject matter "committed exclusively to federal court."  Sacks v. Dietrich et al. No. 10-16524, D.C. No. 3:10-cv-01330-SI (9th Cir. 2011)
 
 
State and Federal Courts are to Honor Arbitration Agreements Where Part of
the Dispute Are to be Litigated and
Others Arbitrated

In a Florida case stemming from some of the financial disputes of Bernard Madoff, the Supreme Court has stated that where there are multiple claims and some of these claims are arbitrable and others are not, the arbitrable claims must be sent to arbitration.  KPMG LLP v. Robert Cocchi, et al.. No. 10-1521, November 7, 2011.

The plaintiffs were Nineteen individuals and entities that bought limited partnerships in the Rye Funds managed by Tremont Group Holding, Inc. and Tremont Partners, Inc. ["defendants"].  The defendants invested with Madoff until the financial fraud scheme was exposed.  KPMG had been the auditors for the two defendants.  The plaintiffs sued KPMG and the defendants.  Causes of action alleged against KPMG
included violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair
Trade Practices Act, professional malpractice and aiding
and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty.  KPMG moved to compel arbitration based on the audit services agreement between it and the two Tremont defendants.  The agreement was broad in scope and covered "any dispute involving any person arising out of the services provided
by KPMG.
 
 
The Dispute Resolution News is Looking for Articles of Interest
typewriter newsThe Dispute Resolution News is looking for articles of interest to the Section. 

If you would like to submit an article for publication, please email newsletter editor, John Allgood.