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 Scope of Arbitration Agreement Posts

Arbitration Non-Signatories Lose in Fifth and Eighth Circuits

By Liz Kramer | November 14 2012

Scope of Arbitration Agreement, Validity of Arbitration Agreement Two circuit court decisions in the last week have denied arbitration motions based on the lack of an arbitration agreement between the parties.  These decisions show that while the federal presumption in favor of arbitration is generally a strong current, it is not strong enough to pull non-signatories into...

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Expert’s Trick (changed damage calculation) Does Not Entitle Arbitration Loser to a Treat (a/k/a vacatur)

By Liz Kramer | October 30 2012

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Scope of Arbitration Agreement The Fifth Circuit recently refused to vacate an arbitration award, despite the loser's arguments that: the arbitrators decided claims outside the scope of the arbitration agreement; and the winner's expert used incorrect damage numbers in his testimony. Morgan Keegan & Co., Inc. v. Garrett, 2012 WL 5209985...

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Eighth Circuit Rules Investors Are Not “Customer” Of Managing Broker-Dealer Under FINRA, So Arbitration Not Required

By Liz Kramer | October 3 2012

Scope of Arbitration Agreement, Validity of Arbitration Agreement In an opinion that runs less than three pages, the Eighth Circuit ruled that a managing broker-dealer is not obligated under the FINRA rules to arbitrate with a group of investors who purchased securities from another party.  Berthel Fisher & Co. Fin. Servs., Inc. v. Larmon, __ F.3d. __, 2012 WL 4477433 (8th...

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Executors and Personal Representatives Equally Bound to Arbitrate Wrongful Death Claims

By Liz Kramer | August 13 2012

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Scope of Arbitration Agreement The Eleventh Circuit has "ironed out a wrinkle" in Alabama's arbitration jurisprudence that seemed to find executors outside the scope of arbitration contracts signed by the decedent.  In Entrekin v. Internal Medicine Assocs. of Dothan, P.A., ___ F.3d __, 2012 WL 3208641 (11th Cir. Aug. 9, 2012), the district...

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A Well-Drafted Arbitration Agreement Can Apply To Disputes Arising Before Parties’ Relationship And To Disputes With Successors

By Liz Kramer | August 3 2012

Scope of Arbitration Agreement Three federal circuit courts have recently looked at the shelf-life of an arbitration agreement.  Can it apply even before the contract is effective?  What about after a successor takes over the relationship?  What if one party unilaterally changes its terms?  The answer is that a properly worded arbitration...

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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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Plaintiff Finds You Can Beat City Hall (in arbitration)

By Liz Kramer | June 13 2012

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Scope of Arbitration Agreement While a court may vacate an arbitration award if the arbitrator exceeds the scope of his authority, the City of Lebanon was unable to convince the Supreme Court of New Hampshire that an arbitrator exceeded his authority when siding against the City in a tax dispute. The plaintiff in Lebanon Hanger Assoc. v....

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Circuit Split: Does Stolt-Nielsen Allow Class Arbitrations Based On Implicit Contract Interpretation?

By Liz Kramer | May 23 2012

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Class Arbitration, Scope of Arbitration Agreement The Fifth Circuit just issued a decision openly disagreeing with how the Second Circuit has interpreted both the Stolt-Nielsen decision and case law regarding the level of deference that courts owe arbitrators.  In Reed v. Florida Metropolitan Univ., Inc., __ F.3d __, 2012 WL 1759298 (5th Cir. May 18, 2012), the...

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Rule-Making Comes To The Rescue of Class Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | February 9 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Class Arbitration, Scope of Arbitration Agreement, Validity of Arbitration Agreement A reasonable person may have thought that the Supreme Court effectively killed off class arbitrations with its decisions in Stolt-Nielsen and Concepcion, but at least two government agencies have recently made decisions that ensure financial consumers and employees can bring classwide claims in some...

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