Arbitration is meant to be an alternate to litigation. Yet arbitration is itself the subject of much litigation over who must arbitrate, what must be arbitrated, whether and how the arbitration should proceed, and the deference courts must show to arbitration awards. This blog is intended to be a resource for litigators, in-house counsel, arbitrators and anyone else who wants to stay on top of the many thorny issues that arise under the Federal Arbitration Act. Our Bloggers →

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Second Circuit Clarifies That Arbitrable Claims Should Be Stayed, Not Dismissed

By Liz Kramer | July 29 2015

Uncategorized Parties who ask a court to compel arbitration of all the plaintiff's claims have a decision to make: should they ask the court to stay the claims or dismiss them (if it finds them arbitrable)?   After noting that the federal courts of appeal are "about evenly divided" on that question, the Second Circuit held that...

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State Courts Disagree About Incorporating Arbitration Agreements By Reference (Post #200!)

By Liz Kramer | July 22 2015

Validity of Arbitration Agreement One way to challenge the very existence of an agreement to arbitrate is to say that the parties' contract said nothing about arbitration and did not validly incorporate any other document calling for arbitration.  Oklahoma and Alabama have recently come out at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of what kind of...

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Should You Cut The Delegation Clause From Your Arbitration Agreement?

By Liz Kramer | July 15 2015

Validity of Arbitration Agreement A recent report showed that less than half of arbitration agreements in the consumer financial arena include delegation clauses in their arbitration agreements.  Two recent decisions from state high courts suggest that is a wise decision because courts do not like to enforce delegation clauses. (Reminder: a...

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Arbitration Fireworks: Three Federal Circuits Refuse To Compel Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | July 2 2015

Class Arbitration, Scope of Arbitration Agreement, Validity of Arbitration Agreement, Waiver of Right to Arbitrate Three federal appellate courts recently affirmed lower courts' refusal to compel arbitration.  These cases show that the federal policy favoring arbitration is not absolute – the parties must have agreed to arbitrate the claims at issue and the defendant cannot have waived its right to arbitrate by engaging in...

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Circuit Split Persists Regarding Whether Arbitrator’s “Manifest Disregard” Of Law Can Vacate Arbitration Award

By Liz Kramer | June 25 2015

Appealing Arbitration Decisions Three years ago, this blog catalogued where all the federal circuits stood on the issue of whether an arbitration award that "manifestly disregarded the law" could be vacated under the Federal Arbitration Act, as that is not one of the four bases for vacatur listed in Section 10.  There was a circuit split then, and...

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Hawaii Finds Arbitration Agreement With “Severe Limitations on Discovery” is Unconscionable

By Liz Kramer | June 19 2015

Validity of Arbitration Agreement Hawaii issued a bold arbitration decision this month. It applied its state contract law to conclude that the parties did not form a clear arbitration agreement, but even if they did, it was unconscionable because it prohibited both discovery and punitive damages.  Narayan v. The Ritz-Carlton Dev. Co., Inc., __...

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A Modest Proposal: Change the Name of Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | June 12 2015

Uncategorized Arbitration has a brand recognition problem. Not enough people know what it is. The recent CFPB report summarized studies showing that even among consumers who know they have an arbitration clause, the majority do not realize they cannot go to court or have their claims decided by a jury. One explanation is...

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Missouri Declares It Unconscionable For NFL Commissioner to Arbitrate Employment Dispute

By Liz Kramer | June 5 2015

Validity of Arbitration Agreement The Supreme Court of Missouri has issued two significant arbitration decisions in recent weeks, showing its willingness to sever any aspects of an arbitration agreement that it finds unconscionable (while enforcing the overall obligation to arbitrate). First, in a contentious decision, the Supreme Court of...

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Defendant’s Failure To Pay Arbitration Fees Cannot Stymie Claims Against It

By Liz Kramer | May 28 2015

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Litigation vs. Arbitration Usually, when faced with a respondent who refuses to pay its share of the arbitration fees, a claimant simply pays both sides' fees, so that the arbitration can proceed.  A new case out of the Tenth Circuit answers the question: what happens if it does not pay both sides' fees?  Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. v....

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Spring Vacations: Which arguments are winning on appeals from arbitration so far in 2015?

By Liz Kramer | May 21 2015

Appealing Arbitration Decisions Today I present a collection of recent state and federal appellate court decisions that vacate or un-vacate arbitration awards. The seven opinions below emphasize how difficult it is to prove that an arbitrator exceeded his or her power and suggest that the surest way to vacate an arbitration award is still by...

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