Liz Kramer

Liz Kramer

Stinson Leonard Street

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Circuit Split Persists Regarding Whether Arbitrator’s “Manifest Disregard” Of Law Can Vacate Arbitration Award

Three years ago, this blog catalogued where all the federal circuits stood on the issue of whether an arbitration award that “manifestly disregarded the law” could be vacated under the Federal Arbitration Act, as that is not...more

6/25/2015 - Ameriprise Financial Arbitration Arbitration Awards Dispute Resolution Federal Arbitration Act Halliburton Manifest Disregard Mediation SCOTUS Section 10

Hawaii Finds Arbitration Agreement With “Severe Limitations on Discovery” is Unconscionable

Hawaii issued a bold arbitration decision this month. It applied its state contract law to conclude that the parties did not form a clear arbitration agreement, but even if they did, it was unconscionable because it...more

6/22/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Corporate Counsel Declaration of Condominium Discovery Federal Arbitration Act Fiduciary Duty Mediation Punitive Damages Real Estate Market Unconscionable Contracts

A Modest Proposal: Change the Name of Arbitration

Arbitration has a brand recognition problem. Not enough people know what it is. The recent CFPB report summarized studies showing that even among consumers who know they have an arbitration clause, the majority do not...more

6/12/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements CFPB Consumer Financial Contracts Federal Arbitration Act Mediation

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

5th Circuit Vacates Arbitration Award Conducted By Wrong Arbitrator Under Wrong Rules

Let’s say your arbitration agreement calls for arbitration administered by JAMS under JAMS rules, but the arbitrator is independent and applies AAA rules, over one party’s objection.  A new decision from the Fifth Circuit...more

4/15/2015 - American Arbitration Association Arbitration Arbitration Awards Arbitrators Attorney's Fees Breach of Contract Insurers JAMS Vacated

6th Circuit Holds that Accountants Conducting Financial Arbitration Can Also Make Legal Determinations

A new case from the Sixth Circuit addresses whether accountants who are resolving a dispute about payments made under an agreement can also make legal determinations about the same agreement. In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth...more

4/9/2015 - Accountants Appraisal Clauses Arbitration Contract Disputes Contract Interpretation

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

SCOTUS Will Hear Arbitration Case in October Term

Just as I was beginning to worry that arbitration had fallen out of favor at the nation’s highest court… today the Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case of DIRECTV, Inc. v. Imburgia during its October Term, an...more

3/23/2015 - Arbitration Class Action Class Action Arbitration Waivers DirectTV DirecTV v Imburgia False Advertising SCOTUS

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

Beyond the Headlines Part II: What The New CFPB Report Teaches Us About Arbitration v. Litigation

In my last post, I shared some of the highlights from the first half of the new CFPB Arbitration Study.  This post covers the second half of the report, with juicy information gleaned from CFPB’s analysis of almost...more

3/13/2015 - Arbitration CFPB Class Action Consumer Financial Products

Beyond the Headlines Part I: What The New CFPB Report Teaches Us About Arbitration Clauses

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released an “Arbitration Study” exceeding 700 pages to Congress this week.  You have likely heard the headlines – most commentators assume that the CFPB will use the study to support...more

3/12/2015 - American Arbitration Association Arbitration CFPB Consumer Financial Products Contract Drafting Loan Agreements

Why The Arbitration Award Against Adrian Peterson Was Vacated

A federal judge in Minnesota today vacated the arbitration award that confirmed the NFL’s discipline of Adrian Peterson.  You can read the decision here.  The judge found two separate bases for vacating the award: 1) the...more

2/27/2015 - Adrian Peterson Arbitration Arbitration Awards CBAs NFL

Lessons From Lance Armstrong About the Finality of Arbitration Awards

On February 4, an arbitration panel ordered Lance Armstrong to pay $10 million to his former promotions company, SCA, as a result of his “unparalleled pageant of international perjury, fraud and conspiracy” that covered up...more

2/18/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Awards Arbitrators Forfeiture Jurisdiction Lance Armstrong Sanctions

Fifth Circuit Un-Vacates Arbitration Award, Offering Guidance to District Courts

“When an arbitration goes an opponent’s way on the basis of questionable contract interpretation, parties often seek refuge in [Section] 10(a)(4).  But the Supreme Court has made clear that district courts’ review of...more

2/13/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Awards Contract Interpretation Railroads

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

Even in the Ninth Circuit, Courts Should Not Intervene Mid-Arbitration

It is generally accepted that courts may only engage in the very front and very back end of an arbitration. At the outset, courts may determine whether the parties agreed to arbitrate the dispute, and at the end, courts may...more

2/2/2015 - Arbitration Conflicts of Interest Federal Arbitration Act

Who Decides Whether New Claims Are Precluded By Old Arbitration? An Arbitrator, Says 2d Circuit

We all know that the doctrines of issue preclusion (collateral estoppel) and claim preclusion (res judicata) apply with equal force to both arbitration awards and court orders. But, if your adversary brings new claims that...more

1/23/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Awards Arbitrators Citigroup Collateral Estoppel Federal Arbitration Act Issue Preclusion Res Judicata

SCOTUS Allows California to Interpret Federal Arbitration Act As Excluding Private Attorney General Claims

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari in the Iskanian case from the California Supreme Court. In doing so, SCOTUS allowed one of the most interesting Federal Arbitration Act interpretations in...more

1/21/2015 - Arbitration Enforcement Actions Federal Arbitration Act Iskanian Labor Code Petition for Writ of Certiorari Private Attorneys General Act Putative Class Actions SCOTUS

Second Circuit Un-Vacates Arbitration Award, Finding No Manifest Disregard

The Second Circuit reversed a district court’s vacatur of an arbitration award this week, finding that the arbitration panel did not manifestly disregard the law when it refused the respondent’s reading of a state statute. ...more

1/12/2015 - Appeals Arbitration Arbitration Awards Business Litigation Manifest Disregard Real Estate Brokers Real Estate Commissions

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

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