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April 16 2013

New Michigan Arbitration Law Takes Effect July 1, 2013

By: Nikole L. Canute

On July 1, 2013, Michigan's new arbitration law takes effect.  The Revised Uniform Arbitration Act, Act 371 of 2012, addresses multiple private arbitration issues.  Specifically, among other things, the Act:

  • Requires the inclusion of certain provisions in arbitration agreements;
  • Specifies the procedures for invoking and enforcing an arbitration agreement;
  • Permits courts to impose provisional remedies before an arbitrator is appointed and authorized to act;
  • Details procedures for conducting arbitrations, arbitrator selection, arbitrator disclosure, issuance of awards, etc.;
  • Enables arbitrators to award punitive damages and/or reasonable attorney fees under specified circumstances;
  • Grants arbitrators immunity from civil liability; and
  • Sets forth the grounds upon which a court shall vacate an arbitration award.

Beginning July 1, 2013, the Act will apply to any agreement to arbitrate, whenever made.  The only exception to the statute applies to arbitrations between members of a voluntary membership organization, if arbitration is required and administrated by the organization.  For example, if members of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) are required to arbitrate a dispute before FINRA, the Act generally does not apply.  Parties to such arbitrations should note, however, that they are permitted to invoke the Act's section detailing how and when arbitration awards can be vacated by courts.

If you would like to discuss the effect of the Act on an existing arbitration agreement or company policy, or how you need to structure an agreement to comply with the Act, please contact our office.