Friday, July 16, 2010

La Serena Properties v. Weisbach (Cal. Ct. App. - July 15, 2010)

I agree with the Court of Appeal here. You can't sue an arbitrator for failing to disclose conflicts. Even if the failure to disclose as allegedly "corrupt" or part of a "conspiracy."

Your proper remedy is limited to vacating the arbitration award. Which is precisely what in fact transpired here.

That said -- and that's all that need be said to resolve the case -- I think that if you're a proposed arbitrator and your girlfriend is the sister of defendant's lawyers, you need to say more than just: “[Defendant's lawyer] is a personal friend. While I do not believe that our relationship would prejudice my hearing of this matter, this relationship does present a potential conflict."

How about: "I am in an ongoing romantic relationship with the sister of defendant's lawyer, and also know counsel personally. Let me know if you would like to select a different arbitrator." Or, even better: "I unfortunately cannot accept the appointment, as my relationships might create at least the appearance of impropriety."