California Arbitrator Immunity Affirmed by Appellate Court

In an important decision restating and expounding preexisting doctrine, the court of appeal has ruled that in California arbitrators enjoy broad immunity from liability for their acts as arbitrators.  In La Serena Properties v. Weisbach, a losing party sued the arbitrator and the American Arbitration Association (AAA) claiming that the arbitrator failed to disclose a conflict of interest that should have disqualified him to serve as the neutral decision maker.

The trial court held there could be no claim – either against the arbitrator or the AAA – because of the doctrine of “arbitral immunity.”  According to that doctrine, arbitrators are treated like judges in court cases.  They cannot be sued for negligence or other misconduct in deciding case. The remedy is a petition to vacate the underlying arbitration award.

For your convenience, a copy of the court’s decision is attached.

We have broad experience in ADR procedures, including arbitration and mediation.  Not only do we offer services as advocates, but also as an arbitrator or mediator in selected cases.

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