Liz Kramer

Liz Kramer

Stinson Leonard Street

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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

Third Circuit Finds Two Months Of Litigation Sufficient To Waive Right To Arbitrate

In a decision this week, the Third Circuit found two related parties had waived their right to arbitrate claims. One was no suprise — it had vigorously litigated the dispute for eleven months....more

5/5/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Waivers

Three Lessons On Appealing From Arbitrations

Three decisions came out recently that offer guidance on appealing from arbitration awards. Here are three pearls of arbitration appeal wisdom, one from each case...more

4/18/2014 - Appeals Arbitration Arbitration Agreements

Arbitration Clauses Survive Their Contracts 99% Of The Time

The Sixth Circuit recently answered a question I get asked regularly: does an arbitration clause survive the termination of the contract containing it? I usually say yes, and thankfully the Sixth Circuit backed me up....more

4/1/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Employment Contract FLSA Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Motion to Compel

Employer’s Attempt To Avoid Ongoing Collective Action By Forcing Potential Plaintiffs To Sign Arbitration Agreements Fails

In the past year, if I wrote about “FLSA” and “arbitration” in the same post, it likely meant that another federal court had found employers can include class action waivers in their employment contracts without violating the...more

4/1/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Collective Actions FLSA

Incorporating Arbitration Agreements By Reference: The Key Is Reasonable Notice

In recent months, three federal circuit courts have confronted this question: can a defendant compel arbitration even in the absence of a signed written agreement containing an arbitration clause? The answers were yes, no,...more

1/22/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Notice Requirements

What A-Rod Can Teach About A-rbitration

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...more

1/14/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Arbitration Awards Federal Arbitration Act

The Easiest Arbitration Agreement To Avoid May Be The One Between Attorney And Client

The First and Ninth Circuits recently issued opinions concerning the validity of state laws requiring “informed consent” to, or “full disclosure” of, arbitration clauses in attorney retainer agreements. Although the First...more

12/24/2013 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Federal Arbitration Act Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

Ninth Circuit Says Arbitration Agreements Cannot Restrict Grounds For Vacating Award

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...more

12/19/2013 - Appeals Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Arbitration Awards Federal Arbitration Act Motion to Vacate

West Virginia Has A Change Of Heart About Arbitration

A few months ago, you would have reasonably thought that West Virginia was one of the most anti-arbitration states in the country. There was not an unconscionability argument that the state didn’t seem to buy with respect to...more

11/25/2013 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Employee Handbooks

Sixth Circuit Is First To Find Availability Of Class Arbitration Is Gateway Issue To Be Decided By Courts

Just four months ago, SCOTUS suggested (but did not hold) that the decision to allow class arbitrations might be a “gateway” issue of arbitrability that defaults to courts. This week, the Sixth Circuit was the first to take...more

11/11/2013 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Class Action Contract Drafting SCOTUS

Halloween Special: Scary Results If Employers Overreach In Arbitration Clauses

No haunted house can scare general counsel as much as an opinion invalidating their company’s arbitration clause and thereby allowing a class action to proceed. So, here is a Halloween tale for all to keep in mind....more

11/1/2013 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Class Action Contract Drafting Corporate Counsel Halloween Unconscionable Contracts

Two Circuit Courts Demonstrate How Difficult It Is To Vacate Arbitration Awards

The Second Circuit decision has more drama, so I’ll start there. In Kolel Beth Yechiel Mechil of Tartik-Ov, Inc. v. YLL Irrevocable Trust, __ F.3d __, 2013 WL 4609100 (2d Cir. Aug. 30, 2013), the losing party in an...more

9/26/2013 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Arbitration Awards Collective Bargaining Federal Arbitration Act Issue Preclusion Unions

Illusoriness Gains In Popularity As An Arbitration Buster

You hear more about Lena Dunham than you expect, given the audience for “Girls”, right? (Read this article for more.) The same is true, or should be true, for the contract defense of illusoriness. After decades of disuse,...more

9/18/2013 - Affirmative Defenses Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Contract Interpretation

The Next Frontier Of Arbitration Litigation: Lessons From State Courts

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....more

8/20/2013 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements AT&T Mobility v Concepcion Litigation Strategies Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Preemption

Employment Class And Collective Action Insight: U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Arbitration Class-Action Waivers Are Valid, Even If...

On June 20, 2013, in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, the U.S. Supreme Court held that, under the Federal Arbitration Act, courts cannot invalidate a class arbitration waiver on the ground that the...more

6/26/2013 - American Express American Express v Italian Colors Restaurant Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Class Action Class Action Arbitration Waivers Federal Arbitration Act SCOTUS

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

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...more

6/21/2013 - American Express American Express v Italian Colors Restaurant Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Class Action Federal Arbitration Act Legal Costs SCOTUS Sherman Act The Clayton Act Waivers

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