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What Is Baseball Arbitration?

Thursday, June, 9, 2011

Baseball arbitration: Many Americans are unfamiliar with both the term and the process of arbitration except as it applies to the sports pages.  The term "baseball arbitration”, however, also refers to a larger style of arbitration that can be used in any context, whether or not it literally involves the sport. 


Understanding Baseball Arbitration


In this form of arbitration, an arbitration attorney is appointed to decide issues that are in dispute between two or more parties.  The arbitration attorney, contrary to popular belief, is not usually free to decide anything he or she pleases.  Instead, each party participating in the arbitration must submit a proposal to him or her in advance.  The process of arbitration when "baseball" rules are followed generally limits the discretion exercised by the arbitration attorney to these proposals.


Parties in dispute have a motive to submit reasonable proposals because if they submit something blatantly unreasonable, the arbitration attorney may decide to award the case to the opposing side.  This is particularly true when the arbitration is non-binding.  Baseball arbitration is also called "final-offer or "either/or" arbitration because of the limits imposed upon the arbitration attorney.


A variant of this process is known as "night baseball arbitration.”  In this form of dispute resolution, the arbitration attorney does not read the parties' proposals in advance.  He or she renders a decision independent of them, and then whichever proposal is closest to the decision is automatically adopted and put into effect.


Find an Arbitration Attorney in the National Arbitration Directory.