Barkett Comments on Sanctions Authority in Domestic Arbitrations

In commentary for the Daily Business Review, Shook, Hardy & Bacon Partner John Barkett explains when arbitrators have the authority to sanction a party or its counsel in domestic arbitration. According to Barkett, "Many domestic arbitration clauses provide for administered arbitration under the rules the American Arbitration Association, JAMS or the Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, or CPR. In such cases, the rules of those organizations become a part of the contract, and each set of rules allows for sanctions."

In addition, Barkett notes that parties can "expressly give an arbitrator sanctions authority in the arbitration clause or make applicable the sanctions provisions of the federal or state rules of civil procedure or include language like 'the arbitration may enter any order that may be entered in a civil action'"—an authority endorsed by the courts. "The bottom line: if the arbitration clause adopts arbitration rules, the arbitrator has authority to impose sanctions as allowed by those rules," he concludes. "Otherwise, broad arbitration clauses or references to relief allowed by rules of civil procedure are sufficient to accomplish the same result."