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 Arbitration Rules/Procedures Posts

3d Circuit Says Delaware Can’t Have Secret Arbitrations By Judges

By Liz Kramer | October 28 2013

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Class Arbitration, Litigation vs. Arbitration The Third Circuit ruled last week that Delaware's Chancery Court could not offer its judges' services as neutral arbitrators in its courtrooms, unless those arbitrations were open to the public. In 2009, the Delaware courts decided to provide arbitration.  The state amended its laws to create an arbitration...

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Rules Update: Improved AAA Commercial Rules; NAF Rules Not An Obstacle To Enforcing Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | October 2 2013

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Validity of Arbitration Agreement On October 1, new Commercial Arbitration Rules became effective at the American Arbitration Association (AAA).  These rules are likely to apply to all commercial arbitrations filed on and after October 1 (unless an arbitration agreement specifically provides for old rules).  The AAA posted its own summary of the...

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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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Federal Courts Can Enjoin State Court Litigation of Arbitrable Claims

By Liz Kramer | May 3 2013

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Litigation vs. Arbitration In a new case that reminds federal judges everywhere to sing "I've got the power!" like C&C Music Factory, the Fifth Circuit reiterates that federal courts can stay related state court actions if necessary to "protect or effectuate" an order compelling arbitration.  American Family Life Assurance Co. of Columbus...

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An ArbitrationNation Roadmap: Document subpoenas to third parties

By Liz Kramer | October 24 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, ArbitrationNation Roadmaps (primers) This post is dedicated to a perennial favorite topic: subpoenas for documents in arbitration.  Why this topic and not something hot off the presses?  Because SCOTUS has not yet accepted or denied the cert petition in Sutter, and no cases have come out recently that meet my high standards for discussion on this blog...

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How Low Can You Go? Shortening the Statute of Limitations in Arbitration Agreements

By Liz Kramer | October 10 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Validity of Arbitration Agreement I see more and more arbitration agreements that contain their own limitations period (the timeline for bringing a dispute in arbitration).  Are all of those necessarily enforceable?  No.  In Order of United Commercial Travelers of America v. Wolfe, 331 U.S. 586 (1947), the Supreme Court held that contracts...

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Three Is The Magic Number: Courts Cannot Authorize Panel of Five Arbitrators When Contract Specifies Three

By Liz Kramer | August 7 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures In a dispute over how faithful a court must be to the parties' arbitration agreement when it is asked to resolve an impasse in arbitrator selection under Section 5 of the FAA, the Fifth Circuit decided the court must give effect to the letter of the agreement, even if that defies its spirit. In BP Exploration...

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Sweet Tea Anyone? Three Summer Arbitration Decisions From Southern States (Ala, WVa, La)

By Liz Kramer | July 12 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Scope of Arbitration Agreement, Validity of Arbitration Agreement It must be near the end of the clerk year, because courts are going gangbusters issuing opinions.  Today, a roundup of three arbitration decisions from Southern states.  Notably, Louisiana makes it tough for lawyers to enforce arbitration agreements with their clients. After prominently noting that the lower...

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First Circuit Makes Circuit Split Lopsided In Favor Of Narrowing Impact Of Stolt-Nielsen

By Liz Kramer | July 4 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Class Arbitration, Scope of Arbitration Agreement With less colorful language than its last arbitration opinion, the First Circuit sided with the Second and Third Circuits in limiting the application of the 2010 Stolt-Nielsen decision on the availability of class arbitration.  Fantastic Sams Franchise Corp. v. FSRO Assoc. Ltd., __ F.3d __, 2012 WL 2402560 (1st Cir....

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The Best New Argument For Compelling Arbitration = Rent-A-Center + the AAA Rules

By Liz Kramer | June 5 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Validity of Arbitration Agreement To date, courts have largely limited the impact of the Rent-A-Center decision to arbitration agreements with explicit delegation clauses. But, what if Rent-A-Center applied to every single arbitration agreement that mentioned the AAA rules?  That is a very real possibility, and one which would send almost all...

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