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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Ninth Circuit Refuses To Enforce Arbitration Clause In Sham Franchise Agreement

By Liz Kramer | March 16 2016

Validity of Arbitration Agreement A short new opinion from the Ninth Circuit may run counter to long-standing Supreme Court precedent. In Casa Del Caffe Vergnano v. Italflavors, 2016 WL 1016779 (9th Cir. Mar. 15, 2016), the court refused to enforce an arbitration agreement in a contract that the parties admitted signing, because the parties...



Montana Finds Arbitration Agreement Unconscionable For Lack of Mutuality

By Liz Kramer | March 11 2016

Validity of Arbitration Agreement March comes in like a lion, right?  Well, that's not true with respect to the weather here in Minneapolis.  But it may be true with respect to arbitration decisions from around the country.  This post focuses on two recent decisions from state high courts that refuse to compel arbitration. In Global Client...


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SCOTUS Vacates Second Arbitration Case This Term

By Liz Kramer | March 1 2016

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Validity of Arbitration Agreement, Year In Review Showing it will soldier on without Justice Scalia, the Supreme Court granted cert, vacated, and remanded an arbitration decision from West Virginia yesterday.  Because this is the exact same treatment the Court gave a case from Hawaii's highest court in January (and the same treatment I predicted, ahem), it...



Scalia Sizzled on Arbitration

By Liz Kramer | February 22 2016

Year In Review Justice Scalia wrote some blockbuster decisions about arbitration, enforcing arbitration agreements regardless of their real-world impact, and making a potentially dry topic exciting and contentious.  Readers of his opinions knew from the first few paragraphs of the analysis how the case was coming out.  If he was...



Three Appellate Courts Remand for Trial on Existence of Agreement to Arbitrate

By Liz Kramer | February 12 2016

Validity of Arbitration Agreement Most questions of arbitrability can be resolved on motion, using a summary judgment-like standard.  However, just like summary judgment, if there are genuine disputes of material fact about whether a claim must be arbitrated -- like competing evidence about whether the parties ever formed an arbitration agreement...


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Fourth Circuit Holds Arbitration Agreement May Not Waive All Federal Statutory Rights

By Liz Kramer | February 4 2016

Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement This week, the Fourth Circuit found an arbitration agreement invalid because it waived all federal and state laws.  Although two other federal circuit courts had already found the same company's arbitration agreement unenforceable because it called for an impossible arbitration process, the Fourth Circuit found it...


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January Arbitration Update: Effective Vindication, Class Arbitration, and FAA Preemption

By Liz Kramer | January 29 2016

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Arbitration Rules/Procedures, Class Arbitration, Waiver of Right to Arbitrate Lots of interesting arbitration law has been made already in 2016, so here is a roundup from the first four weeks of the year. As a teaser, courts have breathed life into the effective vindication doctrine, found arbitrators cannot determine the availability of class actions, and found state laws not preempted. ...


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SCOTUS’s Arbitration Docket Contracts

By Liz Kramer | January 13 2016

Validity of Arbitration Agreement, Year In Review The actual and potential arbitration docket at the Supreme Court contracted in the last week due to three events. First, SCOTUS made quick work of an appeal from the Hawaii Supreme Court.  Remember when I predicted that the DIRECTV case was going to make it even harder for state courts to find arbitration...


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Alabama Acknowledges AAA Rules Authorize Arbitrator To Determine Whether Non-Signatory Is Bound

By Liz Kramer | January 10 2016

Uncategorized The Alabama Supreme Court has followed the Eighth Circuit's lead, concluding that when the parties agree to arbitrate pursuant to the AAA Rules, they have clearly and unmistakably authorized the arbitrator to determine who is bound by that arbitration agreement.  Federal Ins. Co. v. Reedstrom, __ So. 3d __, 2015 WL...


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2015: Arbitration Inches Toward Center Stage

By Liz Kramer | December 30 2015

Year In Review Arbitration case law did not break any new ground in 2015.  Instead, a larger sector of the public became aware of the ground already broken in 2011 and 2013, as well as how common arbitration is in professional sports. Let's review some of the attention-grabbing arbitration headlines of 2015.  There...