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The Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced last week that it is adopting final rules to modify its arbitration procedures.In May, the STB proposed changes to its existing rules in response the the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015. The act mandated that the rail rate disputes be eligible for voluntary arbitration. Under previous rules, the parties could elect arbitration of rate disputes in individual cases, but rate disputes were not automatically eligible for arbitration. Also, the act established caps for awards of $25,000,000 in rate disputes and $2,000,000 in unreasonable practice cases. In addition, the act required modifications to the existing rules, such as commencing maintaining a roster of qualified arbitrators, and selecting a single or lead arbitrator for a proceeding.The board adopted its final rules after receiving public comments."During my tenure as Chairman, I have advocated for greater use of alternative dispute resolution," stated STB Chairman Daniel Elliott III said in a press release. "The STB Reauthorization Act further enhances arbitration as an effective means to resolve disputes outside of formal litigation. The final rules are another accomplishment in leveraging the tools made available under the act."
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