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 Posts

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...

READ MORE

Parties Can Waive Arbitration, Despite A “No Waiver” Clause in Contract

By Liz Kramer | May 31 2012

Waiver of Right to Arbitrate The Sixth Circuit easily affirmed a district court's finding that the defendant had waived its right to arbitration by participating in litigation for eight months.  Johnson Assoc. Corp. v. HL Operating Corp., __ F.3d __, 2012 WL 1861675 (6th Cir. May 23, 2012).  Plaintiffs had filed suit in late December of 2009...

READ MORE

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...

READ MORE

More Administrative Agency Actions on Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | May 18 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement A few months ago I posted about actions that FINRA and the NLRB were taking in support of allowing class arbitration, and those agencies have recently taken additional actions that help consumers or employees with relatively low dollar claims. The NLRB brought a complaint against 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc.  The...

READ MORE

Non-Binding Arbitration May Be A Condition Precedent, But It Does Not Toll Your Statute of Limitation

By Liz Kramer | May 10 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures Maryland's highest court recently affirmed the dismissal of an employer's non-compete claims as time-barred, even though the employer argued that the parties' arbitration excused the untimely filing.  Kumar v. Dhanda, __ A.3d ___, 2012 WL 1521567 (Md. May 2, 2012). The employee, a urologist, had signed a...

READ MORE

Eighth Circuit Is First To Expand Rent-A-Center Beyond Delegation Clauses

By Liz Kramer | April 30 2012

Validity of Arbitration Agreement Relying on the Rent-A-Center decision, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today that construed the parties' relevant arbitration agreement very narrowly, thereby ducking a decision about whether the larger "disputes" section of the contract was void under state law.  That makes the Eighth Circuit...

READ MORE

New Federal Agency Will Study Financial Arbitrations

By Liz Kramer | April 26 2012

Litigation vs. Arbitration Just a few months after its first Director took office in January of 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is embarking on a study of arbitration.  The CFPB announced on April 24 that it invites the public to send information about "how consumers and financial services companies are affected by...

READ MORE

Dissonance Between SCOTUS and BUSINESS On Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | April 23 2012

Litigation vs. Arbitration A new survey found that Fortune 1,000 corporations are significantly less likely to arbitrate contract disputes today than they were in 1997.  In the 1997 study, 85% of companies reported using arbitration in commercial contract disputes at least once during the prior three years.  In 2011, however, only 60 percent...

READ MORE

Third Circuit Issues Reminder That Stolt-Nielsen Decision Does Not Preclude Class Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | April 11 2012

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Class Arbitration, Litigation vs. Arbitration Although courts and practitioners may think of the Stolt-Nielsen decision as the death knell of class arbitration, the Third Circuit's ruling last week serves as a reminder that the Stolt-Nielsen did not deal a mortal blow.  In fact, in Sutter v. Oxford Health Plans LLC, __ F.3d __, 2012 WL 1088887 (3d Cir. April 3,...

READ MORE

Arbitration Just Got More Expensive for Arkansas Companies: Self-Representation Disallowed by Ark. Supreme Court

By Liz Kramer | April 3 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Litigation vs. Arbitration The Supreme Court of Arkansas has joined Florida, Ohio, and Arizona (at least) in holding that a non-lawyer is guilty of the "unauthorized practice of law" if he or she attempts to represent a corporation in arbitration proceedings.  Nisha v. Tribuilt Constr. Group, __ S.W.3d __, 2012 1034641 (Ark. Mar. 29,...

READ MORE