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

Are Residential Real Estate Contracts Outside The Bounds of the Federal Arbitration Act?

By Liz Kramer | July 25 2012

Validity of Arbitration Agreement, Waiver of Right to Arbitrate The Supreme Court of South Carolina just ruled that contracts for the sale of residential property are not interstate commerce, and therefore are outside the reach of the Federal Arbitration Act.  Bradley v. Brentwood Homes, Inc., __ S.E.2d __, 2012 WL 2847616 (S.C. July 11, 2012).  That is a surprising result in my...

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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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Who Decides Whether Statute of Limitations in Arbitration Clause Is Too Short?

By Liz Kramer | June 26 2012

Validity of Arbitration Agreement Arbitration agreements may shorten the statute of limitations that would otherwise be available for claims -- but only to a point.  A recent opinion from the First Circuit shows that how a plaintiff frames its argument that the contractual limitations period is unreasonably short can make a difference not only on...

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West Virginia Won’t Back Down On Arbitration Decision

By Liz Kramer | June 21 2012

Validity of Arbitration Agreement The saga of Brown v. Genesis Healthcare Corporation continues.  Almost exactly a year ago, the West Virginia Supreme Court declared that arbitration agreements in pre-dispute nursing home contracts were unenforceable.  Then in February SCOTUS reversed that decision and remanded the case for consideration of...

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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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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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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...

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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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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...

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