Alim v. KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root)-Halliburton

In Alim v. KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root)-Halliburton, 331 S.W.3d 178 (Tex. App.--Dallas 2011, no pet.), the AAA appointed an arbitrator, who represented in his notice of appointment that none of the party representatives, law firms, or parties had appeared before him in past arbitration cases. He also represented he "diligently conducted a conflicts check" and had "performed his obligations and duties to disclose in accordance with the Rules of the AAA, Code of Ethics for Commercial Arbitrators and/or all applicable statutes pertaining to arbitrator disclosures." Alim, 331 S.W.3d at 180. At the beginning of the arbitration hearing, however, the arbitrator stated that he had "over the years come across" KBR's party representative and its attorney. At the conclusion of the hearing, the arbitrator ruled in KBR's party's favor. Id. Alim notified AAA that he objected to the award because the arbitrator failed to disclose his relationship with the opposing party and its counsel. Id. The evidence showed that six years earlier, the arbitrator had served as a neutral arbitrator in a matter where KBR's party representative represented an affiliate and that KBR's attorney had met the arbitrator eleven to twelve years earlier when their firms were representing opposing parties in a lawsuit. In considering whether Alim waived his complaint, the Court reasoned that the arbitrator's "innocuous comment" at the beginning of the hearing that he had "come across" KBR's party representative did not "establish that Alim had knowledge of the undisclosed facts sufficient to support a finding that Alim intentionally waived his right to object to the arbitrator or acted inconsistently with claiming that right." Id. at 182.