Court Affirms Parties’ Waiver Of Right To Compel Arbitration


A federal court of appeals has affirmed a district court’s decision that parties to a pending lawsuit waived their right to compel arbitration by waiting 11 months after that lawsuit was filed to invoke their right. Instead of exercising their right to compel arbitration according to the agreement at issue, defendants actively litigated the case in federal court, conducting discovery and litigating motions. The court found that plaintiffs, in opposing defendants’ belated motion to compel arbitration, had shown that (1) defendants had knowledge of their right, (2) defendants’ actions in litigating the dispute in court were inconsistent with that right, and (3) plaintiffs would be prejudiced by arbitration at such a late date. Prejudice was founded upon the waste of time and money already spent in federal court, the additional expense the parties would incur if they now needed to educate arbitrators, and the threat of forcing plaintiffs to relitigate matters already decided by the district court judge. James V. Kelly, et al. v. Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County, et al., No. 12-35639 (9th Cir. Jan. 13, 2014).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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