DISPUTE RESOLUTION and ARBITRATION
Welcome to the Waste Management webpage that addresses, and provides the details for, our Commercial Service Agreement’s (“Agreement”) terms and conditions relating to dispute resolution – arbitration. As provided in our Agreement, we have agreed that, except for those claims expressly excluded in our Agreement (EXCLUDED CLAIMS), ANY and ALL existing or future controversy or claim between us arising out of or related to our Agreement or any prior agreements between us, whether based in contract, law or equity or alleging any other legal theory, or arising prior to, in connection with, or after the termination of our Agreement or any prior agreements, shall be resolved by mandatory binding arbitration. (We also may mutually agree to arbitrate any Excluded Claims.)
For ease of reference, here is the relevant Agreement language:
- 10.DISPUTE RESOLUTION-ARBITRATION AGREEMENT AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER. BINDING ARBITRATION: Except for those claims expressly excluded below (EXCLUDED CLAIMS), Customer and Company agree that ANY and all existing or future controversy or claim between them arising out of or related to this Agreement or any other agreements between the parties, whether based in contract, law or equity or alleging any other legal theory, or arising prior to, in connection with, or after the termination of this Agreement or any prior agreements, shall be resolved by mandatory binding arbitration (see www.wm.com for details on arbitration procedures). CLASS ACTION WAIVER: Customer and Company agree that under no circumstances, whether in arbitration or otherwise, may customer bring any claim against the Company, or allow any claim that the Customer may have against the Company to be asserted, as part of a class action, on a consolidated or representative basis or otherwise aggregated with claims brought by, or on behalf of, any other entity or person, including other customers of the Company. EXCLUDED CLAIMS: The following are not subject to mandatory binding arbitration: (A) either party’s claims against the other in connection with bodily injury or real property damage and for environmental indemnification; and (B) Company’s claims against Customer for collection or payment of Charges, damages (liquidated or otherwise) or any other amounts due or payable to the Company by the Customer under this Agreement or any prior agreements between the parties, but Customer and Company may mutually agree to arbitrate any Excluded Claims.
The material below provides information and describes the details of the terms and conditions of the agreed upon arbitration process. Waste Management is committed to controlling costs so we can continue to provide you with the best overall value in waste related services. Litigation avoidance and/or streamlined dispute resolution through arbitration will assist in this regard. For this reason and others, including attempting to amicably resolve any disputes with you, our customer, we have incorporated into our Agreement the binding arbitration process set forth below. Before pursuing arbitration, Waste Management hopes that any issue of concern can be resolved through local management and/or your Sales representative on an informal basis. Waste Management also is willing to explore with you mediation, which is another alternative dispute resolution process in which a third person (a mediator) would aid us in jointly resolving our dispute. However, because no binding decision is rendered in mediation, we each must consider the pros and cons of this alternative process. Nothing said in mediation can later be used in the arbitration process, if the dispute is not resolved in mediation.
If we are unable to resolve a matter to your satisfaction, we have agreed upon the binding arbitration process below to resolve any remaining dispute that is subject to arbitration under our Agreement. Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process where a neutral third party (an arbitrator) provides a fair hearing and decides a dispute. An arbitrator can make a decision based solely on documents submitted by the parties, can award the same relief as a court, and must honor the terms of our Agreement. Arbitration does not have a judge or a jury – it is an alternative to litigation in a court. Proceeding in arbitration may result in limited discovery and may be subject to limited review by courts. Arbitration is typically faster, and it is less formal than a courtroom proceeding. Counsel is not required, but using counsel is an option for each of us. Of course, this process could save time and money for both sides. If either party decides that it desires a hearing, including by telephone, the arbitrator would provide the same.
How Does Either Party Begin Arbitration?
The party seeking arbitration under this arbitration provision shall first provide written notice to the other party (at the address and as provided in our Agreement), which notice would include a short statement of the dispute, including the relief sought, and the notice would be served at least thirty (30) days prior to the initiation of arbitration. If we are unable to resolve the dispute within thirty (30) days after receipt of the notice, then either party may proceed to file an arbitration claim. The party initiating the arbitration proceeding would open a case with the American Arbitration Association – Case Filing Services, 1101 Laurel Oak Road, Suite 100, Voorhees, NJ 08043, 877-493-4185 FREE, http://www.adr.org/ under the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA).
Dispute Resolution and the Arbitration Process
The parties will jointly appoint a single arbitrator who has at least ten (10) years’ experience in the active practice of commercial contracts. The expense and the fees for the arbitrator will be shared equally by the parties. If the parties cannot agree on the appointment of a single arbitrator, it is agreed that the matter would be submitted to the AAA for the appointment of an arbitrator meeting the requirements set forth above. The procedures for appointment and the conduct of the arbitration shall be in accordance with the AAA’s Commercial Arbitration Rules, except as otherwise provided herein. As noted, for more information about the arbitration process or the AAA, please consult the AAA web site at adr.org or contact the AAA at:
American Arbitration Association – Customer Service Center
335 Madison Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, New York 10017-4605
Phone: (212) 716-5870
Fax: (212) 716-5907
Phone Toll Free: (800) 778-7879 FREE
We agree that by entering into our Agreement, we are each waiving any right to trial by jury, except to the extent that may be applicable for the Excluded Claims as defined in our Agreement. All disputes (other than Excluded Claims) relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, or formation of this Agreement, including any claim that all or any part of this Agreement is void or voidable, are for the arbitrator to decide, except those issues relating to the scope, application, and enforceability of the arbitration provision, which are for a court with jurisdiction to decide, if necessary. The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), not state arbitration law, shall govern the arbitrability of our disputes. However, applicable federal law or the law of the state consistent with our Agreement may apply to, and govern the substance of, our disputes. No state statutes pertaining to arbitration shall be applicable under this arbitration provision, except to the extent required by law. If there is a conflict between this arbitration provision and the rules of the AAA, this arbitration provision shall govern.
The arbitrator may award relief in favor of only the individual party seeking relief and only to the extent necessary to provide relief warranted by that party’s individual claim. Neither party nor the arbitrator shall be entitled to join or consolidate claims in arbitration by or against the other party, other individuals or entities, or arbitrate any claim as a representative member of a class or in a private attorney general capacity.
For claims of $10,000 or less, the party bringing the claim can choose to have the arbitration carried out so that the arbitrator will base his or her decision solely on documents submitted by the parties, or it may choose to have the arbitration conducted through an in-person or phone call hearing. The parties also may agree to proceed without a hearing for amounts in excess of $10,000. If an in-person hearing is held, the arbitration will take place at a location near the area where you receive our services, unless otherwise agreed. The arbitrator will honor claims of privilege recognized by law and will take reasonable steps to protect the customer’s account information and any other confidential or proprietary information.
The Arbitration Award. The arbitrator will make any award in writing but, to reduce the time and expense of the arbitration, the arbitrator will not provide a statement of reasons for his or her award unless requested to do so by both parties. The award of the arbitrator may be entered and enforced in any court having jurisdiction. An arbitration award and any judgment confirming it apply only to that specific case; it cannot be used in any other case except to enforce the arbitration award itself.
If an award granted by the arbitrator exceeds $100,000, either party can appeal that award to a three-arbitrator panel administered by the AAA by a written notice of appeal filed within thirty (30) days from the date of entry of the written arbitration award. The members of the three-arbitrator panel will be selected according to the rules of the AAA. The AAA will then notify the parties that the award has been appealed and shall impose a prompt appeal schedule. The party challenging the award shall choose whether the appeal shall be based only on documents or by argument in person or by phone. The three-arbitrator panel will issue its decision within ninety (90) days of the date of the appealing party’s notice of appeal. The decision of the three-arbitrator panel shall be final and binding, except for any appellate right which exists under law.
Change in Arbitration Provider. If the AAA will not enforce this arbitration provision as written, it cannot serve as the arbitration organization to resolve our dispute. If this situation arises, the parties shall agree on a substitute arbitration organization. If the parties are unable to agree, the parties shall mutually petition a court of appropriate jurisdiction to appoint an arbitration organization that will enforce this arbitration provision as written. If there is a conflict between this arbitration provision and the rest of our Agreement’s terms, this arbitration provision shall govern. Waste Management reserves the right to change this arbitration provision from time to time to substitute an alternative arbitration services supplier where Waste Management has determined in good faith that such arbitration services supplier can provide equivalent arbitration services as set forth herein at a lower cost to the parties.
Notices to each party will be deemed given when delivered consistent with our Agreement. This agreement to arbitrate shall survive termination of our Agreement. If any clause within this arbitration provision is found to be illegal or unenforceable, that clause will be severed from this arbitration provision, and the remainder of this arbitration provision will be given full force and effect. If the class action waiver clause is found to be illegal or unenforceable, the entire arbitration provision will be unenforceable, and the dispute will be decided by a court. In the event this entire arbitration provision is determined to be illegal or unenforceable for any reason, or if a claim (other than an Excluded Claim as defined in our Agreement) is brought in a dispute that is found by a court to be excluded from the scope of this arbitration provision, we have each agreed to waive, to the fullest extent allowed by law, any trial by jury.