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 →

Latest Appealing Arbitration Decisions Posts

Ninth Circuit Says Arbitration Agreements Cannot Restrict Grounds for Vacating Award

By Liz Kramer | December 18 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Scope of Arbitration Agreement In the Hall Street decision in 2008, SCOTUS held that parties could not contractually enlarge Section 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act by agreeing that a court could vacate the arbitration award for reasons not found in that section.  This week, the Ninth Circuit held that parties also cannot contractually...

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“Manifest Disregard of the Law” is Alive and Well and Vacating Arbitrations in Fourth Circuit

By Liz Kramer | November 7 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions The Federal Arbitration Act sets forth only four bases for vacating arbitration awards.  See 9 U.S.C. § 10 (a).    After SCOTUS's 2008 decision in Hall Street, at least half of the circuit courts have concluded that those four bases are exclusive, de-legitimizing the creative bases that judges had developed...

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SCOTUS Set To Hear At Least One Arbitration Case This Term

By Liz Kramer | October 10 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions The U.S. Supreme Court has been knocking out blockbuster arbitration opinions annually in recent years.  2010?  Stolt-Nielsen and Rent-a-Center.  2011?  Concepcion.  2012? CompuCredit (Okay, that does not qualify as a blockbuster.) 2013? AmEx and Sutter.  At this point, SCOTUS has accepted roughly half of the...

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Two Circuit Courts Demonstrate How Difficult It Is To Vacate Arbitration Awards

By Liz Kramer | September 25 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions In recent weeks, both the Second and Sixth Circuits showed how difficult it is to vacate arbitration awards. The Second Circuit decision has more drama, so I'll start there.  In Kolel Beth Yechiel Mechil of Tartik-Ov, Inc. v. YLL Irrevocable Trust, __ F.3d __, 2013 WL 4609100 (2d Cir. Aug. 30, 2013), the losing...

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The Next Frontier of Arbitration Litigation: Lessons From State Courts

By Liz Kramer | August 19 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Scope of Arbitration Agreement, Validity of Arbitration Agreement, Waiver of Right to Arbitrate, Year In Review After reading more than 40 decisions about arbitration from state high courts, issued just in the past eight months, I have two bits of wisdom to share.  First, that is not the best way to spend your summer vacation, even for a devoted arbitration nerd.  And second, there are arbitration issues percolating in...

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Arbitration Awards Cannot Be Vacated Just Because Arbitrator Excluded Evidence

By Liz Kramer | August 1 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Arbitration Rules/Procedures In two decisions this week, courts consider whether arbitration awards can be vacated based on arbitrators' decisions to exclude evidence.  In both cases, the courts affirm an arbitrator's authority to make reasonable evidentiary decisions -- excluding hearsay and denying tardy subpoena requests -- as long as...

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Court Affirms Arbitrator’s Decision to Preclude Party From Defending Against Claim as Sanction for Fabricating Evidence

By Liz Kramer | July 23 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Litigation vs. Arbitration In a decision that confirms arbitrators' broad discretion to not only fashion remedies, but also fashion sanctions, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that an arbitrator did not exceed his power by issuing a severe sanction: denying one party the right to defend against certain claims after finding that party had...

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Eleventh Cir. Applies Sutter to Affirm Class Arbitration; Ninth Cir. Applies Concepcion To Preempt Montana Law

By Liz Kramer | July 17 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement Within weeks of its issuance, SCOTUS's Sutter decision is already making an impact on other cases. Both the Eleventh Circuit and the D.C. Court of Appeals cite Sutter repeatedly in recent decisions that refuse to vacate arbitration awards.  Of course, new decisions are not the only ones that reverberate:...

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If “Grave Error” Is Not Enough to Vacate An Arbitrator’s Decision, What Is?

By Liz Kramer | July 11 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, ArbitrationNation Roadmaps (primers) The recent Sutter decision drives home repeatedly that a court may not vacate an arbitrator's decision under the FAA just because a judge thinks the arbitrator reached the wrong result.  Justice Kagan said that under Section 10(a)(4) the court cannot second-guess the award, not even in the face of "grave error." ...

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SCOTUS Affirms Arbitrator’s Decision To Allow Class Arbitration in Sutter

By Liz Kramer | June 10 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Class Arbitration The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Sutter today, unanimously holding that as long as the arbitrator bases a decision to allow or disallow class arbitration on the text of the parties' agreement, her "construction holds, however good, bad, or ugly."  Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter, 569 U.S. ___ (June...

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