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

The Minnesota Supreme Court today unanimously confirmed an arbitration award of over $600 million in punitive sanctions. Seagate Technology, LLC v. Western Digital Corp., (Minn. Oct. 8, 2014).  Although the appellant argued the arbitrator exceeded his authority by severely sanctioning appellant for fabricating evidence, the court concluded that the parties’ agreement gave the arbitrator power

Although we usually expect arbitrators to be impartial, the Supreme Court of Texas vacated an arbitration award because the chosen arbitrators were too impartial. Americo Life, Inc. v. Myer, __S.W.3d__, 2014 WL 2789429 (Tex. June 20, 2014). Because the court found the parties’ agreement allowed each side to choose an arbitrator who was partial

Arbitration is in the news.  Not just a buried paragraph in the business section, but the front page.   (A three-arbitrator panel issued a 34-page arbitration award finding Major League Baseball was justified in suspending baseball player Alex Rodriguez for 162 games, which A-Rod is now trying to vacate.)  My own hope is that this high-profile

In the Hall Street decision in 2008, SCOTUS held that parties could not contractually enlarge Section 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act by agreeing that a court could vacate the arbitration award for reasons not found in that section.  This week, the Ninth Circuit held that parties also cannot contractually restrict Section 10 by providing

The Federal Arbitration Act sets forth only four bases for vacating arbitration awards.  See 9 U.S.C. § 10 (a).    After SCOTUS’s 2008 decision in Hall Streetat least half of the circuit courts have concluded that those four bases are exclusive, de-legitimizing the creative bases that judges had developed over the years.  However, a

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.”  Instead, the award must

While the oral argument before the United States Supreme Court in Sutter today was ostensibly about whether to affirm an arbitrator’s decision that the parties’ contract authorized class arbitration, the decision really turns on how the Court will review all arbitration decisions.  (Transcript here.)  Multiple Justices expressed an unwillingness to create a special 

The Third Circuit refused to vacate an arbitrator’s award, despite allegations that she failed to disclose contributions the defendant’s parent company had made to her judicial campaign and failed to disclose that she co-taught a seminar with in-house counsel for the defendant’s parent company.  Freeman v. Pittsburgh Glass Works, LLC, __ F.3d __, 2013 WL