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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Springsteen

Individual arbitration is plaintiff’s “only remedy, illusory or not” — Third Circuit

By Liz Kramer | August 30 2012

Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement The earthquake that was the Concepcion decision (in April of 2011) is still sending aftershocks throughout the judicial system.  In last week's ruling, the Third Circuit compelled individual arbitration in Homa v. American Express Co., 2012 WL 3594231(3d Cir. Aug. 22, 2012), a case in which the parties have been...

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Catch22

Catch 22 for Parties Seeking to Vacate Arbitration Award for Bias

By Liz Kramer | August 24 2012

Appealing Arbitration Decisions The Fifth Circuit has issued a harsh reminder that in order to preserve issues of arbitrator bias for appeal, the bias must have been raised before the arbitration award was issued. In Dealer Computer Servs. v. Michael Motor Co., 2012 WL 3317809 (5th Cir. Aug. 14, 2012), one party (DCS) received a unanimous and...

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PencilsForClass

Eleventh Circuit Finds FAA Preempts Nascent Florida Law

By Liz Kramer | August 21 2012

Class Arbitration, Validity of Arbitration Agreement The Eleventh Circuit has decided to proactively preempt Florida law, before it could get in the way of the FAA by favoring class arbitrations (despite contract language precluding them). In Pendergast v. Sprint Nextel Corp., __ F.3d. __, 2012 WL 3553466 (11th Cir. Aug. 20, 2012), a wireless customer wanted to...

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BdayHat2

Happy First Birthday to Arbitration Nation!

By Liz Kramer | August 13 2012

Uncategorized, Year In Review Take out your birthday hats and balloons -- Arbitration Nation is celebrating its first full year of existence!  I have enjoyed reading all the developments in arbitration law over the past year and connecting with many people -- through this blog, listservs, emails and Twitter-- about their reactions to the case...

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Iron

Executors and Personal Representatives Equally Bound to Arbitrate Wrongful Death Claims

By Liz Kramer | August 13 2012

Appealing Arbitration Decisions, Scope of Arbitration Agreement The Eleventh Circuit has "ironed out a wrinkle" in Alabama's arbitration jurisprudence that seemed to find executors outside the scope of arbitration contracts signed by the decedent.  In Entrekin v. Internal Medicine Assocs. of Dothan, P.A., ___ F.3d __, 2012 WL 3208641 (11th Cir. Aug. 9, 2012), the district...

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Three Is The Magic Number: Courts Cannot Authorize Panel of Five Arbitrators When Contract Specifies Three

By Liz Kramer | August 7 2012

Arbitration Rules/Procedures In a dispute over how faithful a court must be to the parties' arbitration agreement when it is asked to resolve an impasse in arbitrator selection under Section 5 of the FAA, the Fifth Circuit decided the court must give effect to the letter of the agreement, even if that defies its spirit. In BP Exploration...

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Use-By-Labels

A Well-Drafted Arbitration Agreement Can Apply To Disputes Arising Before Parties’ Relationship And To Disputes With Successors

By Liz Kramer | August 3 2012

Scope of Arbitration Agreement Three federal circuit courts have recently looked at the shelf-life of an arbitration agreement.  Can it apply even before the contract is effective?  What about after a successor takes over the relationship?  What if one party unilaterally changes its terms?  The answer is that a properly worded arbitration...

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homeconstruction

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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SweetTea

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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fireworks

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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