Parties choose arbitration because it provides for a controlled process. Within that process, there is one relatively rare situation when a party requires immediate relief to get a certain aspect of the case resolved quickly and cannot wait until an arbitrator is appointed. Included in the updated JAMS Comprehensive Arbitration Rules that JAMS recently announced, are new emergency relief procedures that provide for such situations.
Under the new Rule 2(c), a party seeking emergency relief may now apply to JAMS for the appointment of an emergency arbitrator to rule on the request. The applicant must notify all parties (or explain the efforts made to notify all parties). Once an emergency request is filed, JAMS will promptly appoint an emergency arbitrator. In most cases this will be within 24 hours of receipt of the request. Disclosures will be made promptly and challenges, if any, heard and decided. JAMS decisions on emergency relief will be final, thus assuring no possibility for procedural delay.
In reviewing the application for relief, the emergency arbitrator will follow Rule2(c) and decide whether the party seeking relief has shown that “immediate and irreparable loss or damage will result in the absence of emergency relief and whether the requesting Party is entitled to such relief.” The emergency arbitrator will then enter an order or award stating his or her reasons for the grant or denial of the relief sought. The entire process should take only a few days unless the parties stipulate to a longer period.
Once a JAMS arbitrator has been appointed, all authority to modify or vacate the emergency relief decision will vest in the appointed arbitrator. A further important provision expressly enables the emergency arbitrator to condition the granting of emergency relief on the provision of adequate security by the requesting party. This will serve to curb any abuse of the procedure.
While the filing of these emergency applications can be expected to be rare occurrences, the availability of such procedures is now assured.