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 Validity of Arbitration Agreement Posts
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“Harmonizing” Contract Language Leads Two Circuit Courts To Deny Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | October 22 2014

Validity of Arbitration Agreement Two parties recently convinced federal circuit courts that the language of their arbitration agreements was not sufficient to compel arbitration of their disputes. Both cases turned on how courts “harmonize” language from different parts of an agreement or from multiple agreements. The decision from the Eighth...

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Second Federal Circuit Court Refuses To Enforce Arbitration By South Dakota Tribe

By Liz Kramer | October 15 2014

Validity of Arbitration Agreement Using a different analysis, but reaching the same result as a recent decision from the Seventh Circuit, the Eleventh Circuit agreed that a defendant could not compel arbitration of consumer claims before the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Nation in South Dakota.  Inetianbor v. CashCall, __ F.3d__, 2014 WL 4922225...

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Arkansas and New Jersey Sidestep Concepcion Hurdle and Declare Consumer Arbitrations Invalid

By Liz Kramer | September 26 2014

Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement Two state supreme courts found consumer arbitration agreements unenforceable in the past week: Arkansas and New Jersey. Arkansas grounded its decision on the lack of mutuality in the consumer arbitration agreement (similar to Missouri’s recent ruling). Alltel Corp. v. Rosenow, 2014 WL 4656609 (Ark. Sept. 18, 2014)....

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End Of The World As We Know It (for Employment Arbitration)?

By Liz Kramer | September 20 2014

Validity of Arbitration Agreement Cue the R.E.M folks, because the Supreme Court of Missouri issued a 4-3 opinion recently that appears to upend many employment arbitration agreements in that state.  Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc., __ S.W.3d__, 2014 WL 4086378 (Mo. Aug. 19, 2014).  However, the situation is not as dire as it may seem. The high...

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Arbitration Agreement On Barnes & Noble’s Website Not Enforceable

By Liz Kramer | September 10 2014

Validity of Arbitration Agreement In a case between an on-line customer and Barnes & Noble, the Ninth Circuit recently refused to enforce the arbitration agreement found in the website's "Terms of Use." Nguyen v. Barnes & Noble Inc., __ F.3d__, 2014 WL 4056549 (9th Cir. Aug. 18, 2014). The decision further calls into question the validity of...

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Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Seventh Circuit Finds Tribal Arbitration Is Unreasonable and Unconscionable

By Liz Kramer | August 29 2014

Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement In a victory for advocates who worry that the odds are impossibly stacked against consumers in some arbitral fora, the Seventh Circuit found that a class of borrowers did not have to proceed with arbitration conducted by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (“Tribe”) in South Dakota "because the arbitral mechanism...

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ArbitrationNation’s Third Anniversary Threesome

By Liz Kramer | August 14 2014

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Scope of Arbitration Agreement, Validity of Arbitration Agreement, Waiver of Right to Arbitrate This week marks the third anniversary of this blog devoted to interpretations of the Federal Arbitration Act.  (Here's the first post.)  After 155 posts, can there possibly be more to say?  Yes, indeed.  Three new opinions from federal courts of appeals demonstrate how new issues keep "cropping" up in arbitration...

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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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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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