makes little difference if the allegations are false. The mere allegations are harmful. Pleadings and other doc- uments filed in arbitration are not public and cannot be readily accessed on the internet.

POLITICAL INFLUENCE In many states, such as Texas, state court judges are elected in partisan elections. As a result, judges have become avid politicians. All too often, politician judges weigh the political effects of their decisions over what is legally correct. Some attorneys make substantial cam- paign contributions to trial and appellate judges. De- spite this, trial judges in Texas are not disqualified from hearing cases from attorneys who have donated money to them. Trial judges in Texas are presumed to be impar- tial even if one party has an attorney who has donated thousands of dollars to his/her campaign and the other attorney has not. If you buy that, I know of a bridge in Brooklyn that is for sale. Also, some lawyers are heavily involved in the political process and are influenced with large voting blocks. Again, political factors may come into play. Arbitration, on the other hand, is non-political. In fact, if an arbitrator has had a financial, social, or political connection with one of the parties or their attorneys, that information must be disclosed and the arbitrator is subject to disqualification. ENFORCEABILITY If there is a valid arbitration agreement and there has been an arbitration ruling, that ruling can only be enforced through a court. The arbitrator who makes a monetary award cannot collect the money that was awarded. Instead, if the funds are not voluntarily paid, the prevailing party can go to the appropriate court to enforce the award. Many times, an arbitration award is routinely converted into a court judgment.

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Michael Johnston has 39 years’ experience as a civil litigator and has represented property owners in numerous landlord/tenant cases. Mr. Johnston is board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Special- ization in the field of Civil Litigation as well as Consumer Law, which includes landlord/tenant litigation. Mr. Johnston regularly serves as an arbitrator in consumer and commercial cases as well as insurance-related cases. He can be reached at (800) 771-6946 or


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