Collin Koenig


Arbitration clauses provide a method for companies to settle business disputes without expending the amount of time and resources required in judicial proceedings. When an arbitration clause is invoked, a neutral third party takes on the role of adjudicator, and the parties defer to the unbiased decision of that neutral. Sometimes what is "unbiased" becomes more uncertain when parties contract for the right to appoint their own arbitrators. Trustmark Ins. Co. v. John Hancock Life Ins. Co. stands for the principle that the Seventh Circuit will relax the impartiality standard to which they hold party-appointed arbitrators, especially compared to the standard for federal judges. This note will dissect the Seventh Circuit's use of its standards in reinstating a party-appointed arbitrator. It will also explain why the Seventh Circuit's approval of an arbitrator required the court to precisely define the powers of the panel on which he served.



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