A federal magistrate judge in Chicago last week quashed an arbitrator’s subpoena for the pre-hearing deposition of a non-party witness, citing with approval decisions of the Second, Third, and Fourth U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal that interpret Section 7 of the Federal Arbitration Act to permit an arbitrator to subpoena witnesses only to appear before the arbitrator at a hearing and to bring with them to the hearing requested material documentary evidence. The magistrate judge also quoted with approval from a decision of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals: “The choice of arbitration is a choice to trade off certain procedural safeguards . . . against hoped-for savings in time and expense (other than the expense of the tribunal), a measure of procedural simplicity and informality, and a differently constituted tribunal.” (Matter of Arbitration Between Gloria Ware v. C.D. Peacock, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIST 44737 (N.D. Ill. May 7, 2010), quoting from Smith v. American Arbitration Ass’n, 233 F.3d 502, 506 (7th Cir. 2000).
May 13, 2010