May 2016 E-Bulletin

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. Disputing Damages? You May Want to Read This
  2. How to Dispute Front/Rear Damages
  3. Quick Tip: Resetting Your Password
  4. Training Opportunities
  5. Improving the Member Experience

Disputing Damages? You May Want to Read This

If you respond to arbitration filings and have occasion to dispute the damages sought in the filing, there are two important things to keep in mind:

  1. Comply with Rule 2-5
  2. Provide the arbitrator with the information needed

Rules 2-5 and 3-5 (e) specifically state that damages arguments contained anywhere other than in the Dispute Damages section may not be considered by an arbitrator. So, when disputing damages, it is critical to enter the arguments in this area only. Entering "See damages arguments in Contentions" will not suffice, as the arbitrator cannot consider the damages arguments in the contentions. (An exception to the above is where you, as the Respondent, assert that the damages sought are excluded from compulsory arbitration's jurisdiction, i.e., diminished value sought by an auto leasing company.)

Damage Dispute Entry Screen

Equally important is providing the arbitrator with sufficient information regarding the type and amount of damages in dispute. Needless to say, the more detailed the information is regarding what damages are disputed and what amount, the easier the arbitrator will be able to resolve the dispute. Simply arguing that the Applicant overpaid the claim or that "rental was excessive" without a specific reason or what the proper amount should be will make it difficult for the arbitrator to consider your argument or agree with your position. The arbitrator would have the discretion to deny the Respondent's damage dispute and award all proven damages. The exception to this is where the responding company has not been provided with the damages proofs. This is the scenario the "if known" in Rule 2-5 is intended to address. Specifying the disputed dollar amount(s) necessitates that information as to what the filing company is seeking has been shared. If documentation has not been shared, a responding company may ask the arbitrator to review the Applicant's proof to ensure all payments were reasonable and necessary. The arbitrator will have discretion as to what damages to award and the amount.

In closing, the key to any argument is the evidence that is submitted to support it. When deciding a dispute regarding damages, the arbitrator will "look to the evidence." What evidence has the Respondent submitted to prove its arguments for a reduction? What evidence has the Applicant submitted to prove its payment?

Top of this bulletin

How to Dispute Front/Rear Damages

For the most part, Respondents understand how to dispute damages when liability is admitted. One area that raises questions, however, is when liability is admitted but only for the front or rear damages sustained by the Applicant. In this type of scenario, the Respondent is not disputing specific damages sought by the Applicant but rather is disputing its liability for the entire claim amount. As such, the Respondent needs to make its arguments regarding its liability for front or rear damages in the contentions. This will ensure the argument is considered by the arbitrator. Submitting an estimate with the front and rear damages separated is also strongly recommended.

Enter "0%" for "Percentage of Liability Admitted" and present arguments regarding front and rear damages in the contentions. (If liability is admitted, the arbitrator may interpret that as an admission for the total damages, both front and rear, regardless of the arguments presented in the contentions.)

Incident Info Screen

Top of this bulletin

Quick Tip: Resetting Your Password

Tips and hintsThe password reset email is sent immediately to your email address on file; if you do not receive the email within five minutes, contact your Security Administrator or the Member Service Center at 866-977-3434.

Top of this bulletin

Training Opportunities

Training and DevelopmentWhether you are filing for the first time or want a refresher course, these interactive, instructor-led Webinars offer valuable information on filing and responding to claims. Sign up today on the AF Web site!

Key Arbitration Rules and Terms
May 27, 11 AM EST

Upon completion of this Webinar, learners will be able to better explain and apply the key rules and terms of AF's intercompany arbitration programs.

Top of this bulletin

Improving the Member Experience

FeedbackOur member arbitrators continue to render quality decisions that address all arguments and provide a detailed analysis of the evidence to explain their rationale.

The following member testimonials were recently received:

"She reviewed all of the evidence and made the right decision. Not that it was in my favor, it was just the right decision."

"I think the arbitrator did a good job of actually reviewing the evidence that I presented, and she had a good summary for that information. I was happy with the decision on this one."

"The explanation was well justified and made sense. That's about all we can ask for."

AF sincerely appreciates our member arbitrators' efforts in helping AF provide effective and efficient products and services to our membership. AF is also thankful to our members for taking the time to provide feedback and recognize these efforts.

Do you have feedback you'd like to share with us? Let us know at memberfeedback@arbfile.org.

Top of this bulletin