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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Why The Arbitration Award Against Adrian Peterson Was Vacated

By Liz Kramer | February 26 2015

Appealing Arbitration Decisions A federal judge in Minnesota today vacated the arbitration award that confirmed the NFL's discipline of Adrian Peterson.  You can read the decision here.  The judge found two separate bases for vacating the award: 1) the award failed to "draw its essence" from the parties' Collective Bargaining Agreement; and 2)...



Lessons From Lance Armstrong About the Finality of Arbitration Awards

By Liz Kramer | February 18 2015

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Arbitration Rules/Procedures On February 4, an arbitration panel ordered Lance Armstrong to pay $10 million to his former promotions company, SCA, as a result of his “unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud and conspiracy” that covered up his use of performance-enhancing drugs.  (Read the NYT story about it here.)  What is...


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Fifth Circuit Un-Vacates Arbitration Award, Offering Guidance to District Courts

By Liz Kramer | February 12 2015

Appealing Arbitration Decisions "When an arbitration goes an opponent's way on the basis of questionable contract interpretation, parties often seek refuge in [Section] 10(a)(4).  But the Supreme Court has made clear that district courts' review of arbitrators' awards under [that Section] is limited to the 'sole question... of whether the...



Rare Claim Falls Outside Arbitration Agreement, Creates Piecemeal Litigation

By Liz Kramer | February 6 2015

Scope of Arbitration Agreement Because of the strong federal policy favoring arbitration, and cases providing that any doubt about the scope of an arbitration agreement must be resolved in favor of arbitration, it is uncommon to find a decision holding that the parties' claims are not within the scope of their arbitration agreement.  But, the...


Little Owl - Athene noctua (50 days old)

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...


Home For Sale Sign in Front of New House.

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,...



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...



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...