Sports news typically does not contain legal coverage, however headlines around the globe of late have vigorously been following the legalities of the Alex Rodriguez suspension for his usage of performance enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball initially suspended Rodriguez for 211 games. Rodriguez appealed this decision to an arbitrator, who was independently selected by the parties. The result of the arbitration resulted in a reduction of the suspension to 162 games. Still unsatisfied with this lengthy suspension, A-Rod seeks to appeal the latest decision to Court.
While this appeal will be heard in the United States, had it occurred in Alberta, it would be highly unlikely that a Judge would overturn the arbitration decision. This is because arbitration had been previously selected as the process to resolve disputes between the parties. Arbitrators typically have extensive experience in both acting as an arbitrator and dealing in issues relevant to the subject matter that they are arbitrating. This is exactly the case with the individual who heard the A-Rod arbitration. For these reasons, the Courts in Alberta, are often reluctant to overturn an Arbitrator’s decision.
The Court’s view arbitrations as Quasi-Judicial hearings that are typically speedier and more cost effective than proceeding to a Trial. The Courts want these and other alternative dispute resolution measures to be taken seriously and effectively utilized. Therefore, barring a significant error in applying the law to the facts, the Courts will look to the reasonableness of the arbitration award and in most circumstances will uphold an arbitrator’s decision. Given this, it would appear that if his appeal was to occur in Alberta, A-Rod would likely be unsuccessful in obtaining a further reduction of his suspension. We will await the decision from the actual Appeal!