DC Circuit Derails Effort to Evade Amtrak Arbitration Provision

Passengers who had suffered no injury lacked Article III standing to challenge an arbitration clause in Amtrak’s Terms and Conditions.

Amtrak’s passenger Terms and Conditions have since 2019 contained a predispute arbitration agreement applying to: “all claims, disputes, or controversies, past, present, or future, that otherwise would be resolved in a court of law or before a forum other than arbitration.” The Appellants in Weissman v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., No. 20-7081 (D.C. Cir. Dec. 28, 2021), were: “two individuals who have traveled on Amtrak in connection with their work and expect to continue doing so. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent Amtrak from imposing an arbitration requirement on rail passengers and purchasers of rail tickets.” On what basis? “Amtrak’s adoption of the arbitration provision was an unlawful ultra vires action that violated the Petition Clause, Article III, and separation-of-powers principles of the United States Constitution.”

Core Issue is Article III Standing

The District Court never got to the substantive issues – including whether Amtrak was a governmental player* – instead granting Amtrak’s motion to dismiss the complaint because the Appellants lacked standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, and this appeal followed. The DC Circuit holds unanimously that the challengers: “have not plausibly alleged an actual injury-in-fact and therefore lack Article III standing.” The Court specifically rejects the passengers’ argument that: “they suffer ongoing injury because purchasing a ticket with an arbitration clause ‘strips [them] of the ability to determine for themselves the level of risk to accept when deciding whether to enter into a commercial transaction’ and they ‘desire not to take on any risk of arbitration as a condition to purchasing rail travel’” (ed: brackets in original).

(ed: *The Court notes that: “Congress created the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, commonly known as Amtrak, to provide passenger rail service to travelers throughout the United States. Although created by statute, Amtrak is ‘a private, for-profit corporation,’ Nat’l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 470 U.S. 451, 454 (1985), ‘not a department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States Government,’ 49 U.S.C. § 24301(a)(3)” (ed: some citations omitted). **Concurring Senior Circuit Judge Silberman: “writes separately because I think Appellants’ claim can be disposed of rather simply. I start with the proposition that virtually every court to encounter a challenge to an arbitration clause has held: a challenger lacks standing unless and until an incident gives rise to a plaintiff’s claim and a defendant invokes the arbitration clause.” ***We’re assuming a challenge to the arbitration agreement can be raised after an actual dispute arises.)

This post first appeared on the Securities Arbitration Alert blog.  The blog’s editor-in-chief is George H. Friedman, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Arbitartion Resolution Services, Inc.

ARS Offers Speedy, Fair, Economical Contactless Relief to Parties in Stalled Court Cases

For further information contact: Mark Norych, Esq.

With many court systems essentially having ground to a halt due to COVID-19, and others very slowly partially reopening, parties in civil litigations are facing long delays getting their dispute resolved in the reasonably near future. And, as the crisis abates a substantial logjam will need to be cleared, starting with criminal matters. Even private and court-annexed “brick and mortar” arbitrations have been impacted, with in-person cases being put on indefinite hold in many areas.

Why Wait? Arbitrate!
As a public service, Arbitration Resolution Services (“ARS”) reminds the public that it is fully operational – complete with remote telephone and video conferencing – serving all ARS clients around the world. Parties to existing stalled court cases can agree to transfer their matter to ARS arbitration using this link. The obvious benefits are a tangible savings in travel time and expense, as well as reduction in traffic, parking and security in and around courthouses. And of course, the platform allows participants to maintain safe social distancing through contactless alternative dispute resolution.

Why ARS?
As described here, ARS takes the guesswork out of resolving legal disputes with our proprietary online alternative dispute resolution system. With a few simple clicks, parties can resolve disputes without leaving their offices, businesses, or homes. ARS is a new way to resolve disputes without the hassles of courts or high expenses:

  • Fully Automated: ARS is a cutting-edge legal solution that provides a proprietary cloud-based service that integrates technology with expert arbitrators and mediators for a revolutionary approach to dispute resolution. The company’s Arb-IT™ software fully automates the step-by-step process of mediation and binding arbitration.
  • Convenient: ARS helps parties resolve disputes involving claims for monetary damages in a faster, more efficient, and less costly way than traditional litigation. Unlike judicial processes, ARS mediations and binding arbitration hearings are scheduled for the convenience of the participants.
  • Save Time and Money: ARS parties can save as much as 80 percent of the costs of traditional litigation in as little as 20 percent of the time. This affordability means that claims that were previously unaffordable or not cost-effective can be pursued.
  • Upload Evidence from Virtually Anywhere: Arb-IT™ software allows users to upload evidence (including, but not limited to, photographs and videos) from virtually any PC, tablet, or mobile device so parties can easily participate in the dispute resolution process.
  • Easy Claim Management: Arb-IT™ uses a proprietary, fully automated process when selecting mediators and arbitrators, which guarantees that matters are entrusted to people who are impartial and have no connection to any of the parties.
  • Benefits and Capabilities: ARS is the place where parties go to have their disputes resolved through mediation and/or arbitration conducted by unbiased and knowledgeable professionals.

Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc. was created to revolutionize the way disputes are resolved throughout the country. By integrating state-of-the-art technology with experienced and knowledgeable professionals, ARS has developed the ideal environment to bring alternative dispute resolution, using mediation and binding arbitration, to virtually everyone, anywhere in the country. ARS is the world’s finest cloud-based alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider where the entire process can be completed online.

Asha Hemrajani joins ARS Advisory Board for the Pan-Asian Region

ARS is excited to announce that Asha Hemrajani has joined its advisory board for the Pan-Asian region. Her addition signifies ARS’ expansion of service outside the United States.

Ms. Hemrajani is a mediator and a tech entrepreneur with a career history in telecommunications, internet governance and cybersecurity. She has successfully mediated commercial disputes, is an accredited mediator at the Singapore Mediation Centre and was named a Court-Appointed Mediator at the State Courts of Singapore. She was also appointed International Accredited Professional Mediator at the International Dispute Resolution and Risk Management Institute (IDRRMI) Hong Kong and Mediator at the Macao Mediation Centre.

“Asha’s qualifications and impressive experience brings an immediate credibility as we expand our organization beyond the U.S.,” said Mark Norych, president and general counsel at ARS. “Her involvement will bring awareness of ARS and our cloud-based online dispute resolution (ODR) systems and grow our client base throughout Asia. We’re proud to have her join our team.”

ARS has revolutionized the field of ODR through its cloud-based platform. With its nimble and forward-thinking approach, ARS has remained open to serve all parties and the public around the world. For more information, please visit https://www.arbresolutions.com or contact us at 888-934-1777.

See the release on EINPresswire.com

CourtCall and ARS Join Forces to Provide Online Dispute Resolution Services

Technology Helps to Drive Down Costs and Expedite Cases

Los Angeles, California—CourtCall, the nation’s leading legal technology provider for remote appearances, and Arbitration Resolution Services Inc., (ARS), a leading technology provider in online dispute resolution, have entered into an agreement which will allow federal, state, county and municipal courts and businesses across the country the option of sending cases to online arbitration and mediation.

“We are very excited about the alliance with ARS,” said Robert V. Alvarado, Jr., Esq., CEO of CourtCall. “ARS has built an excellent platform for arbitration and mediation, and we see great potential for growth in this area, as more and more courts and attorneys embrace this innovative technology.”

“This partnership is, without a doubt, going to speed up the wheels of justice and move cases through the dockets,” said Mark Norych, president and general counsel of ARS. “So many simple matters get tied up in time-consuming and expensive litigation, and having the ability to more efficiently settle disputes is a win for all parties. CourtCall is a technology leader in facilitating hearings and depositions by telephone and video conferencing, so incorporating our online dispute resolution services into their offering is a very logical and natural fit.”

CourtCall is the premier company in the United States providing telephonic and video conferencing services to more than 2,000 courtrooms across the nation and Canada. The company’s Remote Appearance Platform allows attorneys, plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses and interpreters to make virtual court appearances. The obvious benefits are a tangible savings in travel time and expense, as well as reduction in traffic, parking and security in and around courthouses. Since its inception, CourtCall has facilitated millions of appearances before thousands of judges on behalf of hundreds of thousands of lawyers.

ARS is revolutionizing the field of dispute resolution through its cloud-based ADR and ODR programs. ARS offers its users virtual arbitration and mediation services in the comfort of their own businesses, offices or homes without ever having to make a personal appearance. Its combination of a digital evidence submission process along with video and telephonic conferencing, now powered by CourtCall, makes resolving client/customer/business disputes a very simplified, cost-effective and private alternative to litigation.

More information about ARS and CourtCall can be found at www.arbresolutions.com and www.courtcall.com.

Nebraska Supreme Court Affirms Arbitration Decision Rendered by Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc.

The Nebraska Supreme Court affirmed the arbitration decision rendered by Arbitration Resolution Services in Palagi and Wheat v. Prospect Funding Holdings after a series of appeals.

Choosing the Right Option to Resolve Your Used Car Warranty Claims

Many used car dealerships offer free limited warranties to incentivize buyers to purchase cars. Unfortunately, when there is a dispute over what is covered by a warranty, litigation can be very expensive, particularly for small claims. No matter the dollar amount, the dealer’s attorney still must show up in court to argue the matter because businesses must be represented by counsel in most instances. The solution for dealerships is to add an arbitration clause to their contracts. However, even face-to-face arbitration can be expensive and time-consuming for car dealerships. Online arbitration solves many of these concerns. For example, the advantages of online arbitration for warranty disputes are evident in a recent ARS matter.

The dispute:

An individual in California purchased a car from a used car dealership. The contract of sale contained a provision that gave the customer a free limited warranty which included only the engine and transmission. The dealer would pay 50% of the labor and 50% of the parts if the covered systems failed during the warranty period which was 1 month or 1,000 miles from the day of the purchase, whichever came first.

Over a year later, the individual filed a breach of contract suit against the dealership in the Superior Court of California for $10,000. He alleged that he made numerous repairs to the vehicle which should have been covered under the warranty and was also seeking damages for lost wages and stress that the dealership refused to pay. The dealership made a motion asking the Court to dismiss the case because their contract contained a mandatory arbitration provision. The Judge acknowledged the provision and directed the parties to arbitrate the claim. However, the Judge refused to dismiss the action, advising the parties that he would keep this matter open until the conclusion of the arbitration proceedings.

Online arbitration process:

An arbitration was filed with Arbitration Resolution Services (ARS). The parties followed a simple process submitting their evidence via the online platform and within 30 days from the initial filing, they got a decision on the arbitration. the arbitrator rendered a decision denying the buyer’s claim as to the reimbursement for the repairs which were made beyond the warranty period and were made to parts not covered by the warranty. The arbitrator also ruled that the customer was not entitled to damages for lost wages or stress because the claims were too far removed in time from the end of the warranty period and no evidence was submitted to show that the lost wages or stress were related to repairs of the vehicle.


Pursuant to ARS rules, the customer filed an appeal and the matter was referred to a three-arbitrator panel. After a thorough review of the decision rendered by the original arbitrator, the Appellate Panel agreed with the decision of the original arbitrator and upheld the original decision. That took 60 days. Thereafter, the parties appeared back before the Judge in the Superior Court. After reviewing the entire arbitration process, the Judge was satisfied that the arbitration proceedings conducted by ARS were fair and accurate and dismissed the lawsuit.


Advantages of online arbitration:

As illustrated above, online arbitration offers many benefits to parties, including:

  • The matter only took about 90 days to resolve from start to finish with appeals.
  • Low cost. Fees for online arbitration are significantly lower than for litigation or traditional arbitration. In addition, no travel is required, no hearing is required, and the dealership does not have to be represented by an attorney, all of which mean substantial cost savings.
  • Easy built-in appeal process. ARS provides that any party may file an appeal of the decision based on one of two reasons: (1) The Arbitrator used the wrong law or legal standard or (2) The Arbitrator used the correct legal standard but applied it incorrectly as to the facts of the case as determined by the Arbitrator. The entire appeal process is handled online quickly and efficiently.

ARS provides the only complete end-to-end online ADR process. Learn more about how we can help you with your warranty claims or contact us for a consultation.


Smart Contracts: What Are They and Can They Help Your Business?

By Mark D. Norych, Esq. President and General Counsel Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc.

Contracts are legally enforceable agreements which are usually, but not necessarily, in writing and involve some type of transaction. Historically, the only way to enforce a contract in the event of a breach was to file a law suit. Law suits are often time consuming and expensive, particularly for businesses because usually they are required to be represented by an attorney increasing the costs exponentially.

Recently, a new type of contract has emerged known as smart contracts. Essentially, a smart contract is an electronic or digital agreement which is incorporated into a computer program that allows the agreement to be self-executing without the need for human intervention. Like any contract, it can be drafted to meet the specific needs of the parties.

The origins of smart contracts can be traced to the cryptocurrency area. Smart contracts were created to allow anyone wanting to buy cryptocurrency (ex. Bitcoin) to purchase it directly without the use of a broker. But smart contracts can be used for virtually all agreements including those involving financing, leases and sale of goods or services.

One of the more significant features of a smart contract is that it can be self-enforcing – that is, it provides for an automated computer process to occur in the event a party doesn’t perform its obligations under the contract. For example, let’s say in a contract for the sale of goods, one of the parties fails to send payment or delivery of the goods is late, the agreement could be programmed to send letters, notices or demands automatically by email in the event of a breach by one of the parties.

Most interesting is that with the right software and arbitration company, smart contracts can be programmed to automatically file an arbitration to enforce the agreement! Since companies do not need to be represented by an attorney with arbitrations, they can save substantially on the costs of enforcing their contracts.

Smart contracts can save significant time and money, particularly for companies that have a large number of smaller contracts. It is time-consuming and expensive to have staff monitor performance on such contracts, send out letters and file actions especially when the individual dollar amounts may be less than $50,000. Smart contracts are here now and represent the future of contract management and enforcement for many businesses.  Is your business ready to reap the benefits?

Yes, You Can Change Your ADR Provider

One of the benefits of ADR is that the parties can agree in advance which ADR provider they will use and what rules would govern in the event of a dispute. However, even when a particular provider is expressly designated in an agreement, the parties can always consent to other terms. A recent matter before ARS illustrates this point:

The dispute:                   

A husband and wife had executed a Living Trust Agreement. According to the terms of the Trust, upon the death of the surviving spouse, the assets of the Trust were to be distributed equally among their 4 children. One of the couple’s sons was named Executor. After the death of both parents a dispute arose when one of the children claimed that he did not receive his correct share of the trust. The disputed amount was about $50,000.

Arbitration provision:

The Trust had a provision calling for the parties to arbitrate any dispute involving the Trust with the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Notwithstanding this provision, the child who believed he didn’t get his fair share filed an arbitration with Arbitration Resolution Services (ARS).

After giving notice via email of the arbitration filing to the parties as per ARS rules, ARS was contacted by the counsel of the Executor and advised that the matter was not properly filed with ARS since the Trust specifically named the AAA. At that point, the attorney was told he would need to file a formal response to the arbitration objecting to ARS as the correct venue. Alternatively, it was suggested that he familiarize himself with ARS before filing the Response.

Parties mutual consent: 

Several weeks later, the attorney informed ARS that the parties were in favor of using ARS over the AAA and he had amended the Trust provision on disputes by removing the AAA and inserting ARS as the entity to conduct any arbitrations related to disputes with the trust. The major reason for their choosing ARS over the AAA was fees. The AAA would have cost them 5 times more.

Final resolution: 

The arbitration filed with ARS continued and a decision was ultimately rendered, in a matter of weeks.

As noted in a previous post, ADR is a great option for addressing trust and estate disputes. In fact, the Father of Our Country, George Washington, chose to provide for ADR in his own will.

ARS provides the only complete end-to-end online ADR process. Learn more about how we can help you with your Wills, Trusts, and Estates matters or contact us for a consultation.


3 Things You Should Know About Enforcing an Arbitration Award in the U.S.

Generally, once a decision is rendered in an arbitration, payment of any damages awarded is due. If a party fails to pay as required by a decision, the other party can enforce the award in a summary proceeding. Here’s what a party seeking enforcement should know:

  1. S. courts have the power to enforce arbitration awards. Courts have had the right to enforce arbitration awards since the Federal Arbitration Act(“FAA”)[1]was enacted in 1925. The FAA made arbitration agreements involving interstate commerce specifically enforceable,[2]and established very limited judicial review of arbitration awards.[3]The legal bases of the FAA are the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause and Commerce Clause.


With respect to state claims, almost every state has enacted state arbitration laws covering intra-state commerce.


  1. Decisions can only be challenged on one of four major grounds.Section 10 of the FAA sets forth four major grounds for challenging arbitration awards: fraud, arbitrator bias, arbitrator misconduct, or the arbitrators exceeding their authority. The United States Supreme Court in Hall Street Associates v. Mattel 552 U.S. 576 (2008), stated that the sole grounds for moving to vacate arbitration decisions were those in the FAA. Accordingly, absent one of these four grounds, decisions can rapidly be converted to enforceable judgments.


Note that unlike many other ADR providers, ARS offers an appeal process when one or more of the parties believes a decision is legally incorrect. Any party may file an appeal of the decision based on one of two reasons: (1) The Arbitrator used the wrong law or legal standard or (2) The Arbitrator used the correct legal standard but applied it incorrectly as to the facts of the case as determined by the Arbitrator. The non-appealing party has the right to respond. On appeal, the matter is referred to an Appellate Panel of online arbitrators who review the matter and render a decision either affirming the original decision or rendering a new one. The entire process is handled online quickly and efficiently.


  1. Awards can be converted into judgments through a simple process. If a party fails to pay as required by a decision, the party who was not paid can file a motion to confirm the arbitration award. This is a “summary proceeding” and does not require the party to start a lawsuit.

Where the parties use an online ADR provider with no physical venue, the motion to confirm the award should be filed in a court where the party is seeking to execute the judgment. In other words, the party should pick a jurisdiction where the defendant is located and has property that could be attached to satisfy the judgment.

The finality and speed of arbitration are among the main reasons that parties choose arbitration to resolve their disputes. Courts will enforce an arbitration decision in an expedited manner and allow only very limited grounds for review. If you are considering ADR for your dispute, read more about ARS’ complete end-to-end online ADR process. Visit ARS’ FAQ page or contact us for a consultation.


[1]See 9 U.S.C. §§ 1 et seq., available at http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/9/1.


[2]See 9 U.S.C. §§ 1 and 2.


[3]See 9 U.S.C. § 10.


Theory & Practice: Does a Theme Really Matter?

If you’ve read this Blog for any time at all or picked up any book on Arbitration advocacy or even effective Trial practice…pretty much guaranteed you’ve seen the concept of Theme mentioned. So when looking at writing your Contentions on a subrogation arbitration case…is a Theme really all that important? I mean cases are decided on the Evidence right so does it really matter if you write your case evolved from the vehicle to your insureds right failing to yield on a yellow signal versus your insured was broadsided at an intersection in the middle of the day when the adverse recklessly ignored a yellow light causing significant damage to your insureds car.

Me? I like the latter; it paints a broader picture; already speaks to severity and chances are the Arbitrator is a little more engaged with…OK: how did this happen ?’ A Theme sets a premise; a theme invokes mental imagery; a theme sets the stage for what you will continually refer back to as the narrative and the Evidence unfolds. Part of writing any set of Contentions is to be persuasive. Far too often advocates reiterate the facts of the loss with little use of action verbs that invoke any sense of attempting to influence the Arbiter to their position. If you tell me your car was ‘broadsided’; as the Arbiter I want to know how that happened? If you tell me the adverse was ‘reckless’; how so and then persuade me they were. Telling me as the Arbiter they failed to yield on a yellow; that’s fine but it doesn’t really invoke an imagery about severity. For certain; we are not advocating that you not say that…what we are advocating is the how you say it.

Rest assured when I come to my closing… I am going to reiterate just how negligent the adverse was and that (like I’ve done here in this Blog) … is a Theme.


Case Presentation 101 is produced by Claims Resource Services; one of the nations top arbitration and subrogation services firms.  The writer Kevin Pike can be reached at kpike@claimsresource.comand has daily tips on arbitration via Twitter: @Arb2Win