Racial bias

Attorney Stephan Michael Fenster, an arbitrator for AAA, during the arbitration hearing ordered my key witness to leave just because he was black!

User's recommendation: AVOID AAA, they organization is racial bigots to the max!!

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ID
#2352529 Review #2352529 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Location
Rancho Mirage, California
New Reviewer

Jeff Casidy arbitrator

This guy has no legal background. He has a degree in Sociology. He violates state and fedral laws and concludes with delusional findings. Plus he is a known racist.
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ID
#1751104 Review #1751104 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Pros
  • Nuetral
Cons
  • Hire arbitrators with no legal knowledge
Reason of review
Bad quality
Loss
$40
Preferred solution
Remove Jeff Casidy
New Reviewer

Arbitrator Rosemary Townley

I am in the process of filing a complaint perhaps with others to the New York Bar Association regarding Arbitrator Rosemary Townley. Rosemary Townley in my personal and professional opinion is unfit to be an arbitrator, and she has abused and exceeded her power on numerous instances in my opinion of which I believe inured to her benefit on many levels. Unlike a Federal or state court judge- an arbitrator does not have to follow the law. This is a little known fact about arbitration. In fact- according to the Rules of the American Arbitration Association- if there is a "colorful" reason to uphold the decision- or not- judges will almost likely confirm an arbitrator's decision on appeal. Arbitration decisions are virtually impossible to overturn. Many judges upon retirement also join the American Arbitration Association or JAMS as a "second career", which I believe is another reason many appeals judges side with arbitrator decisions and will not overturn them. Arbitration can be very expensive, it is confidential- and few defendants can afford to fund an arbitration against a large company and there is no pressure of publicity to force a company to settle. It can be perceived as improper that an arbitrator who makes their entire living solely through arbitration may side in favor of companies that almost always according to arbitration agreements pay for arbitrations. In fact, most companies have mandatory arbitration clauses in their agreements because arbitration awards typically can favor big corporations that pay their very costly fees. In one case that was overturned on appeal by Townley- a defendant employee sued his company for approximately $600,000. There was of course a mandatory arbitration clause in his employment agreement by defendant Audionamix. The company counter-sued for approximately $1 to $5 million dollars. Bare in mind that punitive damages are illegal in New York State. Arbitrator Townley awarded a whopping $9.4 million dollars against the plaintiff. Seriously? How is this legal? It is not. There was no justification for that award under any laws in New York. Even under a "faithless servant" doctrine- $9.4 million far exceeds that amount of money this plaintiff would have ever culminated in his lifetime. How would an individual like the plaintiff making a few hundred thousand dollars a year ever pay that type of money off to the defendants? Keep working until he or she is 180 years old? Of course not. The arbitrator in my opinion would force the plaintiff into bankruptcy and hurt the plaintiff his entire life. The purpose of arbitration is supposed to be compensatory- not punitive, and Townley's award far exceeded what the defendants even requested. So what was Townley thinking- or not?! The only entities making money were the American Arbitration Association- and Townley. Inexplicably- the lawyer first appealed to the American Arbitration Association about Townley's decision. The American Arbitration Association makes money in arbitration and of course does not want to forfeit the money or their reputation- and the decision by AAA was strangely and irrationally upheld. The employee then appealed and in a rare court decision- won. The remedy? The employee had to go back to arbitration to redo the case and pay for it all over again because of Townley's original decision. The kicker? Arbitrators- many of whom are not even lawyers- are immune from lawsuits by disgruntled parties. One can't even uncover the wrongdoing of arbitrators many times due to the confidential nature of the proceedings and even if you suspect wrongdoing- you still can't sue and win without absolute proof of fraud. So- an arbitrator is immune from lawsuits and "judicial immunity" in spite of not being a Judge. All decisions are confidential- shielding any wrongdoings of a company (one of the perks of a big company avoid transparency and media press) yet companies can go back to their employees and scare the heck out of them with outrageous and cautionary arbitration decisions that are geared favorably toward big companies that pay the arbitration fees. What incentive does any arbitrator have to go against a party not paying their fees? Arbitration is a BIG, lucrative business..... It is difficult to even pick arbitrators. If they have undisclosed contacts- it is difficult to ascertain as arbitration decisions are confidential. Unlike Judges- where you can easily find public legal filings and information about them- you cannot do that readily with the secrecy that cloaks arbitration. In one decision, Townley was an arbitrator with a multi-biliion dollar company, Allegis, founded by Steve Bisciotti and his cousin Jim Davis, both literally in the Forbes 400, with their company Major, Lindsey & Africa. Steve Biscioitti is one hundred percent owner of the Baltimore Ravens Football team- yet kept silent on his ties with the organization as owner. Townley was one of I believe four NFL special NFL arbitrators in the country. Major Lindsey also had the American Arbitration Association as a client, and never revealed this fact in spite of a duty as a party to the arbitration to disclose all potential conflicts. When this was pointed out on appeal- which appears to be a huge conflict of interest- Major Lindsey downplayed this fact, yet promptly removed this client from their website according to public court papers..... and yet the American Arbitration Association did not find this to be a conflict of interest.... The arbitration is currently public now on appeal. Allegis paid a $200,000 arbitration fee..... the entire dispute was over allegedly a $200,000 fee, which morphed by Townley under the draconian "faithless servant" doctrine into a $2.7 million dollar award against the defendant employee. The arbitrator charged a whopping $100,000 just to REVIEW the file... you can send a new college graduate through all three years of law school for that type of money! This is a multi-billion dollar company suing one single employee. Arbitrators- under the American Arbitration Association requirements- allege that arbitrators are trained in how to streamline discovery and not increase costs for parties. It is supposed to be fair, efficient and inexpensive. My opinion is that Townley must have ignored that memo. The amount of money that it cost the defendant is prohibitive for the average individual defendant.....but Townley got paid by the company regardless... The public appeal papers indicated that the defendant had an independent witness that testified that Major Lindsey & Africa unlawfully took proprietary information from into a competitor's computer. Further, not one independent witness testified against the defendant- all three of the "independent" witnesses against the defendant currently still worked at Major Lindsey when they testified. This is not even mentioned in Townley's opinion. In fact- she stated that shockingly the defendant had no credibility- even thought a Federal Court Judge indicated that Major :lindsey & Africa and Allegis had "bogus" and "trumped up" and "nuclear" allegations meant to coerce a settlement by the companies against the defendant. Suddenly, after a scathing Federal Court Judge coming close to sanctioning Major Lindsey & Africa and Allegis for filing unsupported civil allegations against the defendant- Allgeis and Major Lindsey pulled out of the Federal Court case when they couldn't prove their case and refiled in arbitration. Further, Allegis and their companies have a long history of pursing top performing employees. Allegis has sued according to the defendant's papers at least 26 other Allegis employees, mostly all represented by Littler Mendelson- not including those against whom they took legal action in arbitration and other private procedures. This is a company that is and has been a "repeat customer" in arbitration - a lucrative client for AAA and JAMS. Similar in both cases before Townley- both individual parties lost against big lucrative companies. Both parties were not permitted by Townley to present valuable evidence in their cases. In the Major Lindsey case, according to public filings- the defendant sued Jon Lindsey individually for stealing one of her major deals that he hid from her - and she was forced to sit out of the room while Jon Lindsey gave his testimony because he alleged it involved a "trade secret" - even though the plaintiffs never sought an injunction against the defendant for taking any trade secrets! In essence, it appears on its surface to be a major due process violation- how does one defend oneself against evidence that you can't hear in your own case against a defendant that you are suing individually? The arbitrator is supposed to render a decision within 30 days. Townley took 7 or 8 adjournments - all the while handling other NFL cases while she was handling the Baltimore Raven owner's case- and delayed rendering a decision for almost ONE YEAR. So much for the assurances by arbitration proceedings on being efficient, and fair, which is the major marketing push of the American Arbitration Association as to why it is a valuable alternative to litigation. Townley decided in favor of the big company, and made the defendant forfeit all commissions from the employed time at Major Lindsey, in spite of there being zero proof of damages, zero complaints against the employee, and no criminal activity and ironically the employee receiving an award and consistent outstanding reviews for being one of the top employees in the world. In spite of the foregoing- Townley still awarded the company a windfall. The arbitrator in my opinion is self serving and abusive, personally, professionally and financially. This needs to be exposed. With the advent of the internet, and appeals being public- arbitrators can no longer hide under a cloak of anonymity. These arbitrators, like Townley, need to be weeded out, identified and accountable.
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1 comment
#2064514

I identify with you. According to my recent experience in a case before London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), arbitration is perhaps the most corrupt corner in the legal system. It is a sick eco system with unqualified arbitrators, lawyers, arbitration institutions preying on innocent but injured parties and yet escaping accountability altogether.

ID
#1271094 Review #1271094 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Service
American Arbitration Association Judge
Reason of review
Poor customer service

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