by Michael Fox
But there are endless ways that it can end up being complicated. For example: when does a party arbitrator become a neutral and need to make appropriate disclosures to the other side? Apparently, when there is an unequivocal declaration that the party arbitrators are now neutrals, or at least that's the view of one Texas Court of Appeals. J.D. Edwards v. Estes, Inc. (Ct. App - Fort Worth)(11/14/02) [pdf]. Even before that, the court had to deal with an interesting jurisdictional issue, finding they had jurisdiction because the lower court set aside an arbitration award, but didn't order a new hearing. The Court found it had jurisdiction, affirmed throwing out the award because of the failure of a party, turned neutral, arbitrator to make proper disclosures. The court didn't order a new arbitration hearing, so what happens next? Stay tuned I suppose.