Liz Kramer

Liz Kramer

Stinson Leonard Street

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Defendant’s Failure To Pay Arbitration Fees Cannot Stymie Claims Against It

Usually, when faced with a respondent who refuses to pay its share of the arbitration fees, a claimant simply pays both sides’ fees, so that the arbitration can proceed. A new case out of the Tenth Circuit answers the...more

5/29/2015 - AAA Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Motion To Stay

Spring Vacations: Which arguments are winning on appeals from arbitration so far in 2015?

Today I present a collection of recent state and federal appellate court decisions that vacate or un-vacate arbitration awards. The seven opinions below emphasize how difficult it is to prove that an arbitrator exceeded his...more

5/21/2015 - Appeals Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Arbitration Awards Collective Bargaining Damages DHS Elder Abuse FINRA Nursing Homes Oxford Health Reinsurance Title VII Vacated

Fifth Circuit Finds Parties Can Authorize Arbitrators By Their Conduct

The Fifth Circuit un-vacated an arbitration award last week, holding the district court had wrongly concluded that the court was the proper decision-maker on contract formation.  Although courts are presumptively authorized...more

5/13/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Arbitration Awards Auction Broker Commissions Contract Terms Federal Arbitration Act Firearms Motion to Vacate

When Can A Party Recover Attorneys’ Fees Incurred Confirming An Arbitration Award?

If you won your arbitration, it is vexing to have to spend many thousands more in attorneys’ fees opposing a motion to vacate the arbitration award. (That is especially true if you signed up for arbitration thinking it was...more

5/7/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Arbitration Awards Attorney's Fees FAA Federal Arbitration Act Motion to Vacate

Three State Courts Hold Timeliness Of Claim Is Issue For Arbitrator

In March, the highest courts of Montana, Texas, and Wisconsin all held that, when parties have a valid arbitration agreement, the issue of whether an arbitration demand was timely is presumptively for the arbitrator to...more

4/22/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Arbitrators Statute of Limitations

Eighth Circuit Shows How Difficult It Is To Prove Arbitration Agreement Unconscionable Due To Cost

Almost two years ago in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors, SCOTUS significantly narrowed, but did not overrule, the “effective vindication” doctrine, which allows plaintiffs to invalidate an arbitration agreement if it...more

3/26/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Franchise Agreements Putative Class Actions RICO

Eighth Circuit Finds Former Employees Lack Standing To Challenge Employer’s New Arbitration Policy

What’s one way to derail a potentially large collective action about Fair Labor Standards Act violations? To implement a new arbitration policy within days, thereby ensuring that your current employees cannot join the court...more

3/20/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Collective Actions Employer Liability Issues FLSA Restaurant Industry

Rare Claim Falls Outside Arbitration Agreement, Creates Piecemeal Litigation

Because of the strong federal policy favoring arbitration, and cases providing that any doubt about the scope of an arbitration agreement must be resolved in favor of arbitration, it is uncommon to find a decision holding...more

2/9/2015 - Adverse Employment Action Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Family Businesses Shareholders Shareholders' Agreements

2014: The Year of Arbitrator Authority

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...more

1/2/2015 - Arbitral Authority Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Arbitrators Barnes and Noble BG Group v Republic of Argentina CarMax Contract Formation Federal Arbitration Act General Mills Iskanian Robert Half SCOTUS SiriusXM

First Circuit Finds Plaintiff Waived Right to Arbitrate by Litigating for 9 Months

We haven’t had a good waiver case in a while. The First Circuit served one up last week with a flourish, teaching me multiple new words in the process (not for the first time, either). It found that a plaintiff had waived...more

12/12/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Litigation Strategies Prejudice Waivers

Sirius XM Faces Class Action Because Arbitration Agreement Provided Late Is Invalid

A few months ago, the Ninth Circuit found that the arbitration agreement in Barnes & Noble’s website was not enforceable. This week, the Ninth Circuit found that the arbitration agreement Sirius XM Radio relied upon was not...more

11/14/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Contract Formation Popular Putative Class Actions SiriusXM TCPA

Hawaii Finds Unilateral Arbitrator-Selection Provision Fundamentally Unfair

The Supreme Court of Hawai’i concluded last week that it is fundamentally unfair to allow one party to an arbitration agreement to unilaterally select the arbitral forum. Nishimura v. Gentry Homes, Ltd., __ P.3d__, 2014 WL...more

11/6/2014 - Arbitration Agreements Arbitrators Construction Contracts Construction Defects Construction Industry Forum Selection Clause General Contractors Putative Class Actions

Don’t Sign Your Spouse’s Arbitration Agreement, And Other Lessons From Non-Signatories

In three cases in recent months, courts have found that plaintiffs who did not sign an arbitration agreement (non-signatories) are not obligated to arbitrate. In all three cases, a key issue was that the plaintiff’s claims...more

11/3/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Dispute Resolution Estate Planning

“Harmonizing” Contract Language Leads Two Circuit Courts To Deny Arbitration

Two parties recently convinced federal circuit courts that the language of their arbitration agreements was not sufficient to compel arbitration of their disputes. Both cases turned on how courts “harmonize” language from...more

10/23/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Contract Interpretation Motion to Compel

Minnesota Supreme Court Finds AAA Rules Give Arbitrator Power To Issue Sanctions Over $600 Million

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...more

10/9/2014 - American Arbitration Association Arbitration Arbitration Agreements

Arkansas and New Jersey Sidestep Concepcion Hurdle and Declare Consumer Arbitrations Invalid

Two state supreme courts found consumer arbitration agreements unenforceable in the past week: Arkansas and New Jersey. Arkansas grounded its decision on the lack of mutuality in the consumer arbitration agreement (similar to...more

9/29/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements AT&T Mobility v Concepcion Federal Arbitration Act Fraud

End Of The World As We Know It (for Employment Arbitration)?

Cue the R.E.M folks, because the Supreme Court of Missouri issued a 4-3 opinion recently that appears to upend many employment arbitration agreements in that state. Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc., __ S.W.3d__, 2014 WL 4086378...more

9/22/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Federal Arbitration Act Putative Class Actions

Arbitration Agreement On Barnes & Noble’s Website Not Enforceable

In a case between an on-line customer and Barnes & Noble, the Ninth Circuit recently refused to enforce the arbitration agreement found in the website’s “Terms of Use.” Nguyen v. Barnes & Noble Inc., __ F.3d__, 2014 WL...more

9/11/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Barnes and Noble Browsewrap Agreement Internet Retailers Retailers Terms of Use Websites

Seventh Circuit Finds Tribal Arbitration Is Unreasonable and Unconscionable

In a victory for advocates who worry that the odds are impossibly stacked against consumers in some arbitral fora, the Seventh Circuit found that a class of borrowers did not have to proceed with arbitration conducted by the...more

9/2/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Forum Selection Clause Internet Lenders Native American Issues Usury

Nitty Gritty Advice for Compelling Arbitration under the FAA

I regularly receive questions about compelling arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act. In particular, people ask : (1) Can I file a motion to compel before any other “complaint” is filed; (2) What should I call my...more

8/22/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Federal Arbitration Act Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Young Lawyers

Arbitration Award Vacated Because Arbitrators Were Impartial

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....more

7/16/2014 - American Arbitration Association Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Arbitration Awards Impartiality Vacated

Appellate Courts Saving Arbitration Agreements Right and Left

In recent weeks, four federal and state appellate courts have vacated district court decisions that denied motions to compel arbitration. The courts seem to be saying to defendants with arbitration agreements: don’t worry if...more

7/10/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Corporate Counsel Federal Arbitration Act

Eighth Circuit Finds Incorporation Of AAA Rules Authorizes Arbitrator To Determine Whether Non-Signatory Can Arbitrate

In a short and sweet opinion issued just six weeks after argument, the Eighth Circuit yesterday held that an arbitrator was authorized to decide whether a non-signatory was able to arbitrate a dispute. Eckert/Wordell...more

7/2/2014 - American Arbitration Association Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Construction Industry Arbitration Rules Non-Signatories

First Things First: There Must Be An Arbitration Agreement In Order To Compel Arbitration

Two courts recently refused to compel arbitration because the defendants could not prove that the parties had entered into an arbitration agreement at all. Therefore, the musical accompaniment to this post is “Do Re Mi” from...more

6/11/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

Two Federal Circuits Find Health Insurance Claims Outside Scope Of Arbitration Clauses

Because courts apply a presumption of arbitrability when they analyze whether particular claims fall within the scope of an arbitration clause, and arbitration clauses are generally drafted very broadly, I don’t usually get...more

5/9/2014 - Allstate Arbitration Arbitration Agreements CIGNA Health Insurance Healthcare Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Medical Devices

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