The Enforceability of Prehearing Arbitration Subpoenas

The enforceability of prehearing arbitration subpoenas after CVS Health Corporation, et al vs. Vividus, LLC, fka HM Compounding Services, LLC

By Stephen A. Hilger, Esq.

This is Part 4 in a 20-part series of articles dealing with issues of arbitration, mediation and alternate dispute resolution in the construction industry.

Those who have participated in arbitration proceedings understand the difficulty of getting documents from non-parties. For example, in a Contractor – Subcontractor dispute, litigants may want documents from the owner, architect, testing lab, and the like. However, those non-parties may not be connected to the Contractor – Subcontractor arbitration agreement. The litigants can require or request that the arbitrators issue subpoenas, which arbitrators typically do, but what happens when the third-party simply refuses to comply?

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Should You Make Meetings of CEOs a Condition to Arbitration?

This is Part 3 in a 20-part series of articles dealing with issues of arbitration, mediation and alternate dispute resolution in the construction industry.

Over the last decade, a requirement has slipped into the dispute resolution clauses of many construction contracts requiring the CEOs of the various parties to meet as a condition precedent to any arbitration. If something is a “condition precedent” and the contract uses those specific terms, then the meeting must occur before a party can either demand arbitration or file litigation.

Since the parties negotiate their contract, the question becomes whether this is a prudent requirement to place in the contract. The answer is, in most instances, yes. Often times, the parties’ representatives who are involved in the dispute are not the CEOs of the companies. The CEOs, generally speaking, have cooler heads when it comes to resolving heated disputes. They may be one step removed. Forcing the CEOs to meet and discuss the claim has a general influence on either resolving the disputes or substantially narrowing them.

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Attorney Steve Hilger Presents to SBM Real Property Law Section Groundbreaker Focused Round Table Discussions

Grand Rapids construction law attorney Steve Hilger participated in the State Bar of Michigan, Real Property Law Section, Groundbreaker Focused Round Table Discussions. Steve led the discussion on Negotiating a Construction Contract. The program hosted experts in the field to confer both practical and specialized knowledge related to negotiating AIA contract terms, financing and loan documentation considerations, project compensation schemes, and title-related considerations.

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Changes to the 2017 AIA A201 General Conditions: Section 1.1.8 on Initial Decision Maker

This is part 1 of a 15-part series on the changes to the AIA A201 General Conditions. This part deals with section 1.1.8.

In the 2017 changes, particularly section 1.1.8, there are some fairly significant changes to the Initial Decision Maker clause. The changes are as follows:

First, in my humble opinion, the whole Initial Decision Maker process is a bad idea. It usually ends up, by default, being the Architect under section 15.2.1 because people generally do not change the language and select a third-party. So, you basically have the fox guarding the chicken coop. The Architect, as the Initial Decision Maker, has a lot of control over the outcome of the dispute.

This scenario was attempted to be worked out by the language that “the Initial Decision Maker shall not show partiality to the Owner or Contractor…” but that does not fix the problem. How do you deal with a breach of this provision?

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