u01a1 – Case Law Analysis: Judicial Concepts
Student: Beatriz T. Halbert
Instructor: Professor Melvin Landry
Quarter: Fall 2013
I selected U.S. Supreme Court (Court) case Commonwealth v. Continental Casualty, 393 U.S. 145 (1968) for my case law analysis on judicial concepts. The Court heard arguments on October 22, 1968. Mr. Justice Black delivered the opinion of the Court on November 18, 1968.
The petitioner, Commonwealth Coatings, sued Continental Casualty, on the prime contractor’s bond to recover money due for a painting job. The contract between the prime contractor and the subcontractor included an arbitration provision. The petitioner selected an ...view middle of the document...
Mr. Just Black’s opinion discusses at length the background of the third arbitrator, and their relationship with the prime contractor. The third arbitrator owned a large company in Puerto Rico, and conducted business with the prime contractor on a sporadic basis. However, Mr. Justice Black concluded that the prime contractor’s business with the third arbitrator was significant and repeated; and the relationship included services on the specific projects involved in the lawsuit. In addition, both the prime contractor and the third arbitrator failed to disclose their relationship to the plaintiff until after the award. It is clear that the opinion of the Court hinged on this fact (Commonwealth Coatings, 1968).
Mr. Justice Black referenced the United States Arbitration Act in his opinion. He stated that the provisions in the Act showed a desire of Congress to ensure that any arbitration is an impartial one. He also referenced Section 18 in the Rules of the Arbitration Association. Section 18 requires an arbitrator to disclose any circumstances or relationships that could create a presumption of bias. He also referenced part of the 33d Canon of Judicial Ethics that states that a judge should avoid any possibility of bias in their social or business relations. Mr. Justice White and Mr....