Legal Memorandum: Preclusive Effect of Arbitrator's Findings

Issue: Does an arbitrator’s finding have a preclusive effect prohibiting the U.S. Attorney from re-litigating an ADA issue?

Area of Law: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Employee Law
Keywords: Arbitrator's findings; Preclusive effect; Relitigation
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 54 F.3d 787; 993 F.2d 1058; 91 F.3d 542; 906 F.2d 798; 501 U.S. 104; 878 F. Supp. 732; 117 F. Supp. 2d 72; 854 F. Supp. 283; 844 F. Supp. 696; 384 U.S. 394; 15 F.3d 1258; 960 F.2d 1146
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2001

The United States Supreme Court provided the general rule relating to the preclusive effect of administrative decisions.  “When an administrative agency is acting in a judicial capacity and resolves disputed issues of fact properly before it which the parties have had an adequate opportunity to litigate, the courts have not hesitated to apply res judicata to enforce repose.”  United States v. Utah Constr. & Mining Co., 384 U.S. 394, 422 (1966).  An agency acts in a judicial capacity Awhen it provides for (1) representation by counsel, (2) pretrial discovery, (3) the opportunity to present memoranda of law, (4) examination and cross-examination at the hearing, (5) the opportunity to introduce exhibits, (6) the chance to object to evidence at the hearing, and (7) final findings of fact and conclusions of law.  Healthcare Resources Corp. v. District 1199C, Nat’l Union of Hosp. & Health Care Employees, 878 F. Supp. 732, 736 (E.D. Pa. 1995).  The nature of the proceeding may be determined by examining the regulations governing that proceeding.  Id. at 736.  Several Third Circuit cases discuss issue preclusion in the context of a federal civil action following a state administrative action and apply state-law principles of res judicata and collateral estoppel.  E.g., Dici v. Pennsylvania, 91 F.3d 542, 547-48 (3d Cir. 1996); Swineford v. Snyder County, 15 F.3d 1258, 1266-69 (3d Cir. 1994); Roth v. Koppers Indus., Inc., 993 F.2d 1058 (3d Cir. […]

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