Friday, March 13, 2015

Overview of AAA and DecisionQuest's CaseXplorer Arbitration

In our large, complex jury trial cases, many Division 1 members are likely using focus groups and mock juries to assist in the development of themes, evaluate the effectiveness of witnesses, and to develop presentation strategies. 

What about arbitration?  Are mock juries and focus groups worthwhile? 

I (Tom Dunn) talked about this issue with Michael Powell at a conference a couple of months.  Mr. Powell is a Vice President of the American Arbitration Association.  He oversees the Western States: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.  He told me about a new service offered by AAA and DecisionQuest that offers "mock arbitration" services.  The service is Called CaseXplorer Arbitration.  I asked Mr. Powell if he could write up a brief summary about the service. It is below. 

Open Questions for D1 Members: What have you done to test themes in the context of your construction arbitrations?  Have you attempted to find "mock arbitrators" that share some of the characteristics of your selected arbitrator?  Other evaluative tools? Has anyone had an opportunity to use the CaseXplorer Arbitration service?


Have you ever wanted cost-effective feedback on your case from a mock arbitration panel, just to be sure that you are giving your client an objective assessment of their case? Well, the American Arbitration  Association® (AAA®) and DecisionQuest® teamed up to create the online tool CaseXplorerArbitration, a lower cost alternative to in-person mock arbitrations. It enables users to receive an objective evaluation of their case from experienced arbitrators. CaseXplorer Arbitration can be utilized before an arbitration case has been filed or while the actual arbitration is pending. 

With the CaseXplorer Arbitration online case evaluation tool, users are able to obtain feedback on their arbitration case from three or five AAA evaluative arbitrators who are not associated with the actual arbitration. The user provides the selected arbitrators with written materials—facts and legal arguments—along with questions. Documents and videos may be provided as well. The arbitrators’ written responses are provided to the user once all the arbitrators have completed their responses. This process usually takes three to four days. At minimum, users will learn more about their case, and the arbitrators’ feedback may allow for cases to be resolved sooner.

Selecting the arbitrators can be the most critical and challenging component of a construction mega project arbitration. Unlike traditional arbitration where parties select a local arbitrator or panel of arbitrators, construction mega project disputes often involve parties from different states and/or countries. Consequently, it is likely the parties will need to deal with an unfamiliar sole or tripartite panel of arbitrators. CaseXplorer Arbitration’s online arbitrator search can help parties in these challenging situations.

The online search allows users to peruse the AAA’s full roster of CaseXplorer Arbitrators by keyword, expertise and locale to select three or five participating arbitrators.  As part of the process, users are required to provide party information regarding themselves as well as the other side to the dispute (i.e., names of persons, firms, companies) in order to facilitate conflict checks and disclosures by prospective CaseXplorer Arbitrators.

If you are interested in learning more about CaseXplorer Arbitration and how you can use this process for your arbitration cases, please contact Michael Powell at or 213.362.1900.


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