Arbitration Case Takes Students’ Education to Next Level

Posted by on September 27, 2012

It only took fifteen minutes for the arbitration panel to come to a decision, and when the verdict was read, it wasn’t a shock to the parties involved.

“I wouldn’t have represented them in real life,” said student David Harvey, “I had nothing to work with.”

Panelist Joe Kuchinka and Renee Malenowski

Harvey and his teammate were representing Fox Broadcasting in a mock arbitration case, involving a non-compete clause, against a former employee, John Beck.  Harvey’s team presented to the arbitration panel details that they were hoping would lead to the dismissal of an employment agreement between John Beck and Beck’s new employer, Pneuma Broadcasting.  Additionally, Fox Broadcasting was hoping to bring a suit against Pneuma Broadcasting for tortious interference between John Beck and Fox.

The case took place as an applied learning project in David Monroy’s Business Law class at Minnesota School of Business in Elk River.

“The class was split in half and then students paired off,” said Monroy.  “The two halves of the class worked on the same case, but presented to different arbitration panels.”

Each student-dual either represented Fox Broadcasting, John Beck, or Pneuma Broadcasting in the dispute.  The students researched and analyzed the facts of their client’s side of the case and then presented their case to the arbitration panel, which consisted of program chairs and community members.

Student Heidi Smith presenting Pneuma Broadcasting’s case

In the end, the arguments that Beck’s and Pneuma Broadcasting’s teams made rang true to the panel and Fox’s cases against Beck and Pneuma were dropped.

After the arbitration panel read their decision to the class, they took time to address each team’s presentation.

Panelist Leslie Nicol said in no way was their decision based on the student’s presentation skills.  “David Harvey’s team hit it out of the ballpark, but they didn’t have anything solid to work with,” Nicol said. “So our decision was against them.”

According to Harvey, even though his team lost its case, the project wasn’t a total loss.

“It was a real confidence booster,” Harvey said. “The questions from the panel provided a valuable opportunity to become more comfortable when thinking on my feet.”

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