As previously reported, for certain consumer and employment arbitrations, Senate Bill 20-93 would have:
- Prohibited the waiver of standards for and challenges for evident partiality prior to a claim being filed and required any waiver of such provisions after the claim is filed to be in writing;
- Provided that the right of a party to challenge an arbitrator based on evident partiality is waived if not raised within a reasonable time of learning of the information leading to the challenge but that such right is not waived if caused by the opposing party;
- Established ethical standards for arbitrators; and
- Required specified public disclosures by arbitration services providers but included protections for certain confidential information.
The SB 93 would also have required an individual arbitrator for certain consumer and employment arbitrations to make additional disclosures of information that might affect the arbitrator’s impartiality. The Bill also specified how attorney fees and other reasonable expenses are to be awarded if a court vacates an award because of an arbitrator’s evident partiality or failure to make required disclosures and clarifies when appeals of orders may be made in consumer and employee arbitrations.
The Bill also provided that for a standard form contract involving a consumer or employee:
- Specified terms are unenforceable as against public policy;
- Including an unenforceable term constitutes a deceptive trade practice under the “Colorado Consumer Protection Act”; and
- Determined how certain cost-shifting provisions are to be interpreted.
On June 4th, the House Finance Committee postponed indefinitely SB 93. I assume that the bill was killed because it was not Fast, Friendly (i.e., lacking opposition), and Free. Though enough amendments were made to ameliorate some of the most serious concerns raised by opponents, including the construction industry, to get it out of the Senate, enough resistance remained to violate the “Friendly” test for whether the Colorado Legislature would pass is this year. Stay tuned next year, as this issue is sure to have a repeat performance.
For additional information regarding construction litigation in Colorado, or the legislative measure which may impact such litigation, feel free to reach out to David M. McLain by telephone at (303) 987-9813 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.