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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SpaceFrontier

The Next Frontier of Arbitration Litigation: Lessons From State Courts

By Liz Kramer | August 19 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Scope of Arbitration Agreement, Validity of Arbitration Agreement, Waiver of Right to Arbitrate, Year In Review After reading more than 40 decisions about arbitration from state high courts, issued just in the past eight months, I have two bits of wisdom to share.  First, that is not the best way to spend your summer vacation, even for a devoted arbitration nerd.  And second, there are arbitration issues percolating in...

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massachusetts

First State Court Decision Is Reversed Under SCOTUS’ Amex Ruling

By Liz Kramer | August 5 2013

Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement Put this post in the "I called it" category. On June 12, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared in Feeney that class arbitration waivers are invalid under Massachusetts law if plaintiffs cannot effectively pursue their claims in individual arbitration.  On June 20, the U.S. Supreme Court decided...

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Limpets

Arbitration Awards Cannot Be Vacated Just Because Arbitrator Excluded Evidence

By Liz Kramer | August 1 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Arbitration Rules/Procedures In two decisions this week, courts consider whether arbitration awards can be vacated based on arbitrators' decisions to exclude evidence.  In both cases, the courts affirm an arbitrator's authority to make reasonable evidentiary decisions -- excluding hearsay and denying tardy subpoena requests -- as long as...

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Evidence bag

Court Affirms Arbitrator’s Decision to Preclude Party From Defending Against Claim as Sanction for Fabricating Evidence

By Liz Kramer | July 23 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Litigation vs. Arbitration In a decision that confirms arbitrators' broad discretion to not only fashion remedies, but also fashion sanctions, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that an arbitrator did not exceed his power by issuing a severe sanction: denying one party the right to defend against certain claims after finding that party had...

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Eleventh Cir. Applies Sutter to Affirm Class Arbitration; Ninth Cir. Applies Concepcion To Preempt Montana Law

By Liz Kramer | July 17 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement Within weeks of its issuance, SCOTUS's Sutter decision is already making an impact on other cases. Both the Eleventh Circuit and the D.C. Court of Appeals cite Sutter repeatedly in recent decisions that refuse to vacate arbitration awards.  Of course, new decisions are not the only ones that reverberate:...

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GenieLamp

If “Grave Error” Is Not Enough to Vacate An Arbitrator’s Decision, What Is?

By Liz Kramer | July 11 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, ArbitrationNation Roadmaps (primers) The recent Sutter decision drives home repeatedly that a court may not vacate an arbitrator's decision under the FAA just because a judge thinks the arbitrator reached the wrong result.  Justice Kagan said that under Section 10(a)(4) the court cannot second-guess the award, not even in the face of "grave error." ...

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Ground rules

ArbitrationNation Roadmap: When Should You Choose JAMS, AAA or CPR Rules?

By Liz Kramer | June 27 2013

ArbitrationNation Roadmaps (primers) Albert Einstein supposedly once said “you have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” In arbitration, that means figuring out which organizations’ rules are best suited for your arbitration clause. This post is designed to help drafters make that decision by giving a...

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Red handwritten letters

SCOTUS Says “Tough Luck” To Plaintiffs Whose Claims Are Too Pricey To Prove In Individual Arbitrations

By Liz Kramer | June 20 2013

Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement In American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, a divided Supreme Court today reversed the Second Circuit and held that plaintiffs may not invalidate an arbitration agreement containing a class action waiver merely because proving their claims on an individual basis would cost many times more than their...

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Paul Revere Mall

Massachusetts Invalidates Arbitration Agreement Because Plaintiffs Could Not Effectively Pursue Small Value Claims

By Liz Kramer | June 13 2013

Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement As we were waiting for SCOTUS's decision in AmEx, we got a decision on vindicating statutory rights from a different high court: the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.  In an opinion that could be a blueprint for other plaintiff-friendly states, the supremes in Massachusetts held that courts may invalidate...

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young man cover his eyes

SCOTUS Affirms Arbitrator’s Decision To Allow Class Arbitration in Sutter

By Liz Kramer | June 10 2013

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Class Arbitration The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Sutter today, unanimously holding that as long as the arbitrator bases a decision to allow or disallow class arbitration on the text of the parties' agreement, her "construction holds, however good, bad, or ugly."  Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter, 569 U.S. ___ (June...

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