How arbitration will work
The American Arbitration Association is overseeing the process. It has started assembling lists of dozens of potential arbitrators in each state to submit to the dealerships, General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group, said India Johnson, the association’s senior vice president.
The association started sending the lists last week to the two parties in particular cases, she said.
The two sides ultimately must agree on a single arbitrator after reviewing arbitrators’ backgrounds, expertise, potential conflicts of interest and availability, Johnson said.
Most arbitrators are lawyers, including some retired judges, and many have financial or accounting expertise, she said.
Both sides will likely be asked to rank their selections in order of preference, Johnson said. The association will try to reconcile the rankings of the two parties and pick a single arbitrator in each case by the end of February.
Once selected, the arbitrator will schedule teleconferences with the two parties to discuss a schedule for each side to file written claims and responses, Johnson said.
The arbitrator also will set up a hearing at which both fact and expert witnesses can be called to testify under oath and face questioning from both sides, she said.
Hearings typically are held in hotels, law firms, county buildings, libraries or the association’s offices, Johnson said.
Family members and the public may or may not be allowed at hearings, she said.
Under the law signed by President Barack Obama last month setting up arbitration for rejected dealerships, arbitration cases are to be completed by mid-June, with all decisions to be handed down a week later.
The written decision of the arbitrator will explain why he chose to reinstate or not reinstate the dealership.
The two sides also have the option of agreeing on a financial settlement outside the arbitration framework.
GM and Chrysler have until the end of June to follow up an arbitrator’s reinstatement order with a letter of intent to the dealership.