791.29 Appointment of hearing officer.§ 791.29 Appointment of hearing officer.
(a) Qualifications of hearing officer. All hearing officers shall be neutral, subject to disqualification for the reasons specified in paragraph (f) of this section.
(b) Appointment from panel. Promptly after receiving the complete list of parties at the close of the notice period described in § 791.22, the American Arbitration Association shall submit simultaneously to each party to the dispute an identical list of names. Each party to the dispute shall have thirty days from the mailing date in which to cross off any names objected to, number the remaining names to indicate the order of preference, and return the list to the American Arbitration Association. If a party does not return the list within the time specified, all persons named therein shall be deemed acceptable to that party. From among the persons who have been approved on all lists, and in accordance with the designated order of mutual preference, the American Arbitration Association shall invite the acceptance of a hearing officer to serve. If the parties fail to agree upon any of the persons named, or if acceptable hearing officers are unable to act, or if for any other reason the appointment cannot be made from the submitted lists, the American Arbitration Association shall have the power to make the appointment without the submission of any additional list.
(c) Nationality of hearing officer in international dispute. If one of the parties is a national or resident of a country other than the United States, the hearing officer shall upon the request of any party, be appointed from among the nationals of a country other than that of the parties.
(d) Number of hearing officers. The dispute shall be heard and determined by one hearing officer unless the American Arbitration Association, in its discretion, directs that a greater number of hearing officers be appointed.
(e) Notice of appointment. Notice of the appointment of the hearing officer, together with a copy of these rules, and the signed acceptance of the hearing officer shall be filed prior to the opening of the first hearing.
(f) Disclosure and challenge procedure. A person appointed as hearing officer shall disclose to the American Arbitration Association any circumstances likely to affect impartiality, including any bias or any financial or personal interest in the result of the hearing or any past or present relationship with the parties or their counsel. Upon receipt of such information from such hearing officer or other source, the American Arbitration Association shall communicate such information to the parties, and, if it deems it appropriate to do so, to the hearing officer and others. Thereafter, the American Arbitration Association shall determine whether the hearing officer should be disqualified and shall inform the parties of its decision, which shall be conclusive.
(g) Vacancies. If any hearing officer should resign, die, withdraw, refuse, be disqualified or be unable to perform the duties of the office, the American Arbitration Association may, on proof satisfactory to it, declare the office vacant. Vacancies shall be filled in accordance with the applicable provisions of these rules and the matter shall be reheard unless the parties shall agree otherwise.