All cases that have demands below $50,000 and sent to what is known as Mandatory Arbitration. With this system, the plaintiff and the defense counsel, along with their respective clients and witnesses, present their case in front of a three person mediation panel. This panel consists of two arbitrators and one "chief arbitrator", who directs the course of the mandatory arbitration. This presentation works much like a jury trial, consisting of opening and closing statements, as well as questioning of witnesses. Once each side has rested their case, the room is cleared and the mediation panel discussed the case and gives a verdict and an award. Either side can reject this decision, pay a fee, and take their arguments to court. However, this rarely occurs because 90% of mandatory arbitration cases never go to full trial. Therefore, this court serves to expedite smaller cases.
Keith Short has been appointed or asked to arbitrate nearly a dozen lawsuits in the last two years. Mr. Short has also served as chief arbitrator several of these arbitrations.