Patton Boggs Reinsurance Newsletter - December 2012: Wisconsin Federal Court Transfers Arbitrator Selection Dispute to New York

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Employers Ins. Co. of Wausau v. Arrowood Indemn. Co., Nos. 12-cv-283-bbc, 12-cv-284-bbc, 12-cv-285-bbc, 2012 WL 5306152 (W.D. Wis. Oct. 26, 2012).

A Wisconsin federal court avoided having to resolve a dispute over arbitrator selection and consolidation by transferring the case to the federal court in New York.  Three cases were brought when the parties could not agree on the method for selecting arbitration panels in disputes arising from a series of reinsurance contracts.  The cedent argued that venue was not proper in Wisconsin because the contracts all had New York forum selection clauses in their arbitration provisions.  In transferring the cases to New York, the court agreed with the cedent and found that the forum selection clause was mandatory and must be enforced under Section 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”).  The court rejected arguments that Section 5’s appointment of the arbitrator or umpire provisions, which are not affected by venue, would require the case to stay in Wisconsin.

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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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