Arbitration

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Arbitration

Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process, which allows parties to resolve a dispute in a private setting, rather than in a formal proceeding before the Board. The Board maintains an arbitration program and encourages resolution of disputes through arbitration, whenever possible. Arbitration offers the chance to receive a faster decision and reduce litigation costs.

The STB Arbitration Program

Shippers and railroads can agree in advance to arbitrate certain types of disputes by "opting in" to the STB's arbitration program. When a party opts in to the program, it may specify which types of arbitration-eligible matters it is willing to arbitrate.

Matters Eligible for Arbitration

Matters not Eligible for Arbitration

Arbitration Procedures

Arbitration is conducted before a panel of three arbitrators, selected from a roster of arbitrators maintained by the STB. All arbitrators have experience in rail transportation, economic regulation, or the freight logistics industry. Arbitration may be conducted using a single arbitrator, upon agreement of all parties. The parties share equally the costs of arbitration. To view the STB's arbitrator roster, click here.

With the exception of rate disputes, arbitration procedures begin no later than 40 days after filing of a complaint. The arbitrator(s) must issue a decision no later than 30 days after the end of the evidentiary phase of arbitration. Parties can appeal the decision to the STB or to a court of appropriate jurisdiction under the Federal Arbitration Act. The STB will modify or vacate an arbitration award only on grounds that it reflects a clear abuse of arbitral authority or discretion, or directly contravenes statutory authority.

Limits on Relief

Arbitration awards are capped $25 million for each rate dispute, and $2 million for all other matters. Parties may also agree to lower award caps.

To view the STB’s rules on arbitration, click here.

For additional information about STB arbitration, contact the Rail Customer & Public Assistance Program at (202) 245-0238.

PARTIES THAT HAVE OPTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE STB'S ARBITRATION PROGRAM

Party Eligible Issues Date
Opted In
Letter
Union Pacific
Railroad
Demurrage; Accessorial Charges; Misrouting or
Mishandling of Rail Cars, all up to $200,000
(Subject to specific conditions -- see letter)
June 21,
2013
Click to
view

 

PAST ARBITRATION DECISIONS (REDACTED)

Parties Date of Decision