A class-action litigation against a major corporation with multiple restaurant franchises was de-certified, resulting in thousands of current and former employees ordered to pursue their claims for off-the-clock overtime and side work individually by mediation and/or arbitration.
How should an ADR organization’s case-administration staff manage such a widespread caseload in a timely, efficient manner?
Steps to Solution
- Obtain party agreement to utilize a Special Master in order to determine threshold issues and to create a streamlined protocol process for all counsel and parties to follow.
- Appoint the Special Master.
- The Special Master determines the protocol; in this case, for parties to attempt to reach a mediated settlement and go to arbitration if that fails.
- Organize the caseload into manageable groups.
- Meet any contract stipulations; in this case, a locale provision called for arbitrators to reside in geographically suitable areas, although most of these hearings and conferences likely would be held by phone.
- Identify acceptable mediators and arbitrators.
- Facilitate mediator and arbitrator selection.
- If cases do not settle or are not withdrawn, assign mediators multiple cases.
- Cases that do not settle in mediation proceed to arbitration.
- At the conclusion of the arbitrations, appoint settlement judges in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
100% of the 4,019 cases were administered to resolutions achieved via multiple tracks.
NOTE: In this real-life scenario, the American Arbitration Association® streamlined and facilitated resolution of 100% of the multi-case, multi-location mediations and arbitrations. To read the entire case study, please click here.