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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Even in the Ninth Circuit, Courts Should Not Intervene Mid-Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | January 30 2015

Appealing Arbitration Decisions It is generally accepted that courts may only engage in the very front and very back end of an arbitration. At the outset, courts may determine whether the parties agreed to arbitrate the dispute, and at the end, courts may determine if the arbitration met the basic fairness requirements of the Federal Arbitration...

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Who Decides Whether New Claims Are Precluded By Old Arbitration? An Arbitrator, Says 2d Circuit

By Liz Kramer | January 22 2015

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Litigation vs. Arbitration We all know that the doctrines of issue preclusion (collateral estoppel) and claim preclusion (res judicata) apply with equal force to both arbitration awards and court orders.  But, if your adversary brings new claims that you believe have already been determined in arbitration, where do you go to shut down those...

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SCOTUS Allows California to Interpret Federal Arbitration Act As Excluding Private Attorney General Claims

By Liz Kramer | January 20 2015

Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari in the Iskanian case from the California Supreme Court.  In doing so, SCOTUS allowed one of the most interesting Federal Arbitration Act interpretations in recent years to stand.  As you may recall, the decision held that the Federal Arbitration Act...

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Second Circuit Un-Vacates Arbitration Award, Finding No Manifest Disregard

By Liz Kramer | January 9 2015

Appealing Arbitration Decisions The Second Circuit reversed a district court's vacatur of an arbitration award this week, finding that the arbitration panel did not manifestly disregard the law when it refused the respondent's reading of a state statute.  Sotheby's Int'l Realty, Inc. v. Relocation Group, LLC, 2015 WL 64265 (2d Cir. Jan. 6,...

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2014: The Year of Arbitrator Authority

By Liz Kramer | December 31 2014

Year In Review A lot of interesting arbitration law was made this year, on topics from validity to vacatur, but the banner issue was arbitrator authority.  SCOTUS announced that theme for the year with its BG Group decision in March and federal and state courts around the country ran with it.  [Warning: this post is a doozy.  Get...

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First Circuit Finds Plaintiff Waived Right to Arbitrate by Litigating for 9 Months

By Liz Kramer | December 11 2014

Uncategorized, Waiver of Right to Arbitrate We haven't had a good waiver case in a while.  The First Circuit served one up last week with a flourish, teaching me multiple new words in the process (not for the first time, either).  It found that a plaintiff had waived its right to arbitrate, not by bringing its claims to court in the first place, but by...

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Three-Peat: ArbitrationNation Makes ABA’s Blawg 100 Again in 2014

By Liz Kramer | November 25 2014

Year In Review Do you remember Balki's Dance of Joy from the TV show Perfect Strangers?  That is what I am doing today.  Editors of the ABA Journal announced yesterday they have selected ArbitrationNation as one of the top 100 best blogs for a legal audience for the third straight year (out of 4,000+ legal blogs).  I am very...

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New Survey Dispels Common Myths About Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | November 20 2014

Litigation vs. Arbitration Did you know that 87% of experienced arbitrators report *always* trying to follow applicable law in rendering an award?  That will come as a surprise to many critics who like to complain that arbitrators do not adhere to established law. The statistic comes from a survey that Prof. Thomas Stipanowich of Pepperdine...

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Sirius XM Faces Class Action Because Arbitration Agreement Provided Late Is Invalid

By Liz Kramer | November 13 2014

Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement A few months ago, the Ninth Circuit found that the arbitration agreement in Barnes & Noble's website was not enforceable.  This week, the Ninth Circuit found that the arbitration agreement Sirius XM Radio relied upon was not enforceable because the user did not know he had any agreement with Sirius XM, let...

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Hawaii Finds Unilateral Arbitrator-Selection Provision Fundamentally Unfair

By Liz Kramer | November 5 2014

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Validity of Arbitration Agreement The Supreme Court of Hawai’i concluded last week that it is fundamentally unfair to allow one party to an arbitration agreement to unilaterally select the arbitral forum. Nishimura v. Gentry Homes, Ltd., __ P.3d__, 2014 WL 5503393 (Haw. Oct. 31, 2014).  The parties can either jointly agree to a forum, or the court...

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