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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Un-Vacated: Appellate Courts Save Arbitration Awards

By Liz Kramer | July 22 2014

Appealing Arbitration Decisions Two posts ago, I reviewed four recent cases in which appellate courts enforced arbitration awards that district courts had refused to enforce.  Today I review two more appellate courts coming to the rescue of arbitration, this time by confirming arbitration awards that had been vacated by lower courts. In SPX...

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3Longhorns

Arbitration Award Vacated Because Arbitrators Were Impartial

By Liz Kramer | July 15 2014

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Arbitration Rules/Procedures Although we usually expect arbitrators to be impartial, the Supreme Court of Texas vacated an arbitration award because the chosen arbitrators were too impartial. Americo Life, Inc. v. Myer, __S.W.3d__, 2014 WL 2789429 (Tex. June 20, 2014). Because the court found the parties' agreement allowed each side to choose an...

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Appellate Courts Saving Arbitration Agreements Right and Left

By Liz Kramer | July 9 2014

Scope of Arbitration Agreement, Validity of Arbitration Agreement, Waiver of Right to Arbitrate In recent weeks, four federal and state appellate courts have vacated district court decisions that denied motions to compel arbitration.  The courts seem to be saying to defendants with arbitration agreements: don't worry if you lose in the trial court, we will be your Tim Howard and save you from the gaping jaws...

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Eighth Circuit Finds Incorporation Of AAA Rules Authorizes Arbitrator To Determine Whether Non-Signatory Can Arbitrate

By Liz Kramer | July 1 2014

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Validity of Arbitration Agreement In a short and sweet opinion issued just six weeks after argument, the Eighth Circuit yesterday held that an arbitrator was authorized to decide whether a non-signatory was able to arbitrate a dispute.  Eckert/Wordell Architects, Inc. v. FJM Props. of Willmar, LLC, __ F.3d __, 2014 WL 2922343 (8th Cir. June 30,...

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California Maintains Some Restrictions On The Waivers Allowable In Employment Arbitration Agreements

By Liz Kramer | June 25 2014

Class Arbitration, Litigation vs. Arbitration This week the Supreme Court of California held that the FAA preempts California's 2007 Gentry ruling, one that protected employees from nearly all class action waivers in arbitration agreements.  Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, __ P.3d__, 2014 WL 2808963 (Cal. June 23, 2014).  However, asserting its...

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Alabama Confirms Arbitrators’ Grant of Judgment As A Matter of Law

By Liz Kramer | June 17 2014

Appealing Arbitration Decisions Just as SCOTUS held its nose and confirmed an arbitration award it thought stunk in Sutter, the Supreme Court of Alabama has confirmed an arbitration award made after only the claimant presented evidence and grounded in a possible misunderstanding of Alabama law.  Tucker v. Ernst & Young, __ So.3d__, 2014 WL...

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First Things First: There Must Be An Arbitration Agreement In Order To Compel Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | June 10 2014

Litigation vs. Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement Two courts recently refused to compel arbitration because the defendants could not prove that the parties had entered into an arbitration agreement at all.  Therefore, the musical accompaniment to this post is "Do Re Mi" from The Sound of Music.  "Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start....

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Court Vacates $125M Award Due To Arbitrator’s Misleading Disclosures

By Liz Kramer | May 30 2014

Appealing Arbitration Decisions Today we take a close look at that rare creature: an opinion finding sufficient basis under the FAA to vacate an arbitration award. In Tenaska Energy Inc. v. Ponderosa Pine Energy, LLC, __S.W.3d __, 2014 WL 2139215 (Tex. May 23, 2014), the Supreme Court of Texas found an arbitrator had shown "evident partiality" due...

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Marijuana

Labor Arbitrator Authorized to Void Agreement Based on Mutual Mistake

By Liz Kramer | May 15 2014

Appealing Arbitration Decisions This week the Eighth Circuit confronted an interesting question: if a union member believed he failed a drug test, and therefore agreed his employer could terminate him if he tested positive again, can the arbitrator invalidate that agreement if the union member never actually failed the drug test? The appellate...

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MedicalDevice

Two Federal Circuits Find Health Insurance Claims Outside Scope of Arbitration Clauses

By Liz Kramer | May 9 2014

Scope of Arbitration Agreement, Uncategorized Because courts apply a presumption of arbitrability when they analyze whether particular claims fall within the scope of an arbitration clause, and arbitration clauses are generally drafted very broadly, I don't usually get to write about courts finding that a dispute falls outside the scope of arbitrable claims. ...

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