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As regular readers of the blog may recall, Liz wrote a brief note about a decision by the Supreme Court of Missouri holding that arbitration is not available when companies select a defunct institution to administer their arbitrations with consumers.  See A-1 Premium Acceptance, Inc. v. Hunter, 2018 WL 4998256 (Mo. Oct. 16, 2018).  In the case, the commercial party — A-1 — had designated, in a 2006 arbitration agreement contained loan documents, the National…
At least in theory, mutual assent remains a cornerstone of contract law and thus of arbitration.  The tricky part has become understanding what counts as mutual assent in a world where overwhelming empirical evidence, not to mention our own lived experience, demonstrates that no one reads standardized terms and conditions, including arbitration provisions buried in fine print, or more commonly these days, a maze of hyperlinks. Basically, to get around the unilateral character of adhesive…
In this week’s installment of Arbitration Nation, we’re going to look at when a “decision with respect to an arbitration” may be appealed.  9 U.S.C. § 16 provides part, but only part, of the answer.  The rule essentially establishes the right of a party losing a motion to compel arbitration in a federal court to appeal that decision immediately. In contrast, a party who has been compelled to arbitration cannot appeal that decision immediately unless…
Spring is just around the corner!  And with spring comes an outstanding conference that the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution will be presenting on April 10-13, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis, Minnesota – see the conference flyer for a quick overview of the conference and a registration form. The theme of the conference, “Shining the Light on the Parties in Dispute Resolution,” reflects its principal focus — what parties and their counsel need to…
Discovery in international arbitrations can be controversial for a lot of reasons. The District Court for the District of South Carolina recently added another one to the list in In re Servotronics, Inc., No. 2:18-MC-00364-DCN, 2018 WL 5810109 (D.S.C. Nov. 6, 2018). The case addresses a very practical question: does 28 U.S.C. § 1782, which allows a district court to order a person who resides in the court’s district to provide testimony or…
Pick up any textbook or treatise on arbitration law, and you’ll find the same thing in the chapter on enforcing arbitral awards: courts cannot conduct a merits review of awards. Courts, in other words, do not second guess the conclusions of the arbitrators about law or facts. Or at least they’re not supposed to do so. Still, losing parties often try to convince a reviewing court that the arbitrator “exceeded her powers.”  These sorts of…
Liz has written before about the ways that state courts sometimes try to resist SCOTUS’s love affair with arbitration.  Resistance can come in many and varying forms, some more subtle than others. One persistent source of confusion in arbitration law, and thus a locus for resistance, centers on delegation clauses. As a quick refresher, in the United States, courts decide questions of arbitrability (questions about the proper scope of an arbitration agreement as well as the…
When Liz first told me that she was going to be our state’s new Solicitor General, I was overwhelmed, feeling a great wave of pure, abject panic. Don’t get me wrong, Liz is going to be an outstanding Solicitor General, and Minnesota couldn’t be luckier to have her. In fact, I think hiring her for the gig is one of the smartest things Minnesota has done in years. Yay Minnesota. But come on Liz, what…
As many of you know from LinkedIn or Twitter, I have accepted an exciting new position. I will be Minnesota’s Solicitor General starting next week.  Because I want to give my full attention to serving this great state, I need to step back from ArbitrationNation. Thankfully, however, I have a wonderful replacement lined up.  My friend and fellow arbitration geek, Prof. Henry Allen Blair, has agreed to serve as the primary blogger here. I trust…
First, SCOTUSblog referenced “arbitration nation” last fall, which was flattering.  Then last week the Ninth Circuit declared: “we have become an arbitration nation.”   That was basically the title of my first post on this blog seven years ago!  (“We are becoming an arbitration nation.”) I am going to turn up the  Janet Jackson  (“Rhythm Nation”) and feel smugly validated while I draft the rest of this post.  Because there is more to…