Freeman Files Reply Brief Alleging
October 22, 2012
by Casey Neeley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Counsel for appellant James D. Freeman filed a reply brief Friday
outlining their appeal argument alleging the arbitrator who originally
heard the case was biased in favor of PPG and Pittsburgh Glass Works
The appeal argument hinges on the "appearance of bias" under the
legal standard of "evident partiality." Appearance of bias warrants
that all arbitrators disclose any "information that might raise
an appearance of bias, or an actual conflict of interest," states
counsel for Freeman in the brief. Appellant counsel further argues
that the arbitrator did not disclose the full extent of her relationship
with PPG, which created evidence of her partiality toward the corporation.
According to statements in the brief, the appellants allege that
the bias was established through campaign contributions made by
PPG to the arbitrator. Appellants further argue that PPG's 40 percent
holdings in PGW as a parent company are enough to bind the two companies
as having common interests.
"Not only is the arbitrator legally obligated to disclose her known
direct or indirect financial or personal interests, she is expected
to 'make reasonable effort to inform' herself of any such interests
or relationship," reads the brief.
Appellants also argue that the arbitrator cannot claim ignorance
of the donations.
"The arbitrator should have made a reasonable inquiry to determine
what information should have been disclosed," says counsel for Freeman.
"Had the arbitrator made any reasonable inquiry, she would have
discovered the campaign contributions even if she was not previously
aware of them."
"As a former appellate judge and Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidate,
she should be expected to be cognizant of the rules of judicial
ethics and to adhere to them," continues counsel for Freeman in
the brief. Finally, officials for the appellant contend that Freeman's
trust in the arbitrator's ethics lead to the unfavorable ruling.
"As a result of his reasonable placement of such trust, appellant
was substantially prejudiced, because he was deprived of the right
to have his case heard by a neutral tribunal," say officials in
Counsel for Freeman appealed
a 2010 decision in his age
discrimination case against PGW. Freeman asked the court to
the decision in August. The former employee made the appeal after
attempts to appeal the arbitrator's decision were denied in April
PGW had not returned requests for comment at the time of press.
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