Update (11/21/2016): As predicted, below. One of my less impressive predictions, imio (“in my immodest opinion”).
Update (January 7, 2016): Immediately below nearly a month ago, I wondered, “And will the fool’s errand go still further with an appeal?” We now know the answer as of today: Yes.
I wish the best of luck to appellant and his lawyers at the distinguished law firm of Anthony Ostlund Baer & Louwagie even while I put their chances of winning on appeal near zero. If their appeal is successful, I will have to eat crow for having called the attack on the AAA a “fool’s errand” but it will be with a smile on my face in light of my serious misgivings about arbitration as a general matter.
Update (December 9, 2015): Chalk up a successful prediction of Minnesota Litigator (see below and linked order). Owens’ quixotic attack on the American Arbitration Association failed quite quickly and decisively. (Who, I wonder, footed the bill for that doomed misadventure? And will the fool’s errand go still further with an appeal?)
Update (November 18, 2015): The American Arbitration Association’s reply brief is linked here. It has been a while since I have inched out on a limb and predicted how a motion or a case will go. I am feeling bold. I predict the AAA will win and, in doing so, will reinforce my deep reservations about arbitration as a desirable dispute resolution process in most legal disputes.
Update (November 10, 2015): I challenge anyone to read the attached memorandum and to contest that Mr. Timothy Owens was dealt a disturbing and, in fact, shocking injustice. (On the other hand, other allegations about Mr. Owens might lower one’s sympathy for him a notch or two.)
Unfortunately for Mr. Owens, there is some ambiguity as to whether the AAA (who removed one of three arbitrators, post-award under opaque circumstances (described below)) can and should be held liable or whether Hennepin County Judge Thomas Sipkins (who vacated the arbitration award due to the removal of the arbitrator) was responsible.
And, in the latter case, maybe the correct route to justice was via appeal of Judge Sipkins decision, which Mr. Owens successfully sought and then, for reasons unknown, dropped (perhaps a variant of the “settle and sue” model at work?).
Original post (August 25, 2015): “The problem with arbitration is that it is arbitrary…,” Minnesota Litigator has repeatedly quoted a senior seasoned trial lawyer as having said years ago.
Complain all you’d like about our state and federal court systems but the process is sanitized by sun-light (by which I mean that it is public, it is more subject to public scrutiny). And the judges do not charge the litigants by the hour. And there are fairly comprehensive rules of procedure and evidence that have been developed and refined over literally hundreds of years (and courts generally apply them in more or less uniform fashions while, with arbitrators, who knows (and there is no recourse if rules are not followed)?).