Arbitration Contract Interpretation

Arbitration is a widely-used method for settling disputes between parties. During arbitration, parties submit their dispute to an impartial third person or party, usually chosen by the parties. Typically, parties... more +
Arbitration is a widely-used method for settling disputes between parties. During arbitration, parties submit their dispute to an impartial third person or party, usually chosen by the parties. Typically, parties to arbitration agree in advance to be bound by the arbitrator's decision. Arbitration is an alternative to litigation, but it shares many of the familiar features of litigation. Namely, parties to arbitration hold hearings before neutral decision-makers, present evidence and argue the merits of their position. Parties often choose arbitration due to its perceived advantages over litigation. Those perceived advantages include greater efficiency and flexibility, and lower costs. less -
News & Analysis as of

Class Action Arbitration after Dell Webb

Agreeing to arbitrate disputes, in lieu of traditional litigation, is not a new phenomenon. As consumers, we all contractually agree to arbitrate disputes on an almost daily basis. While not everyone may read the entire...more

Has the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Expanded the Grounds for Reviewing Arbitration Awards?

A fundamental tenet of arbitration is that arbitration awards are subject to very limited review and are rarely vacated due to an error in contract interpretation. The Illinois Uniform Arbitration Act sets forth just five...more

Trial Court’s Interpretation of a Contract Much Harder to Overturn, the Supreme Court of Canada Confirms

To overturn a trial court’s interpretation of a contract on appeal, it is not enough that the trial court was wrong, it must be really wrong, the Supreme Court of Canada recently affirmed in Heritage Capital Corp v Equitable...more

Fourth Circuit Court Of Appeals Decides Issue Of Class Arbitrability Is A Question For The Court, Not Arbitrator

A South Carolina federal court dismissed a petition to compel class arbitration, reasoning “that whether the arbitration clause permits class arbitration is a simple contractual interpretation issue, and because the question...more

What Makes a Multi-tiered Dispute Resolution Clause Enforceable?

A recent High Court decision serves as a reminder that multi-tiered dispute resolution clauses are not necessarily enforceable, and provides insight into key drafting points. Overview - Multi-tiered dispute...more

Court Addresses Honorable Engagement Provision In Arbitration Clause

In First State Insurance Company v. National Cas. Co., 2015 WL 1263147, No. 14-1644 (1st Cir. March 20, 2015), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit (the “Court of Appeals”) affirmed the lower court’s refusal to...more

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

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

2014 Autumn Review – M&A Legal Developments

We set out below a number of interesting English and European court decisions which have taken place and their impact on M&A transactions. This Insight looks at these developments and gives practical guidance on their...more

“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

Is Your Arbitration Agreement Still Enforceable in Missouri After Baker v. Bristol Care, Inc.?

This summer, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a decision that will affect arbitration agreements relied on by employers across the state. The decision—one of many in a recent trend of Missouri cases restricting the...more

Third Circuit: Federal Court Should Decide Whether An Arbitration Clause Authorizes Classwide Arbitration – Not The Arbitrator

The Third Circuit recently was presented with the question of whether, in the context of an otherwise silent contract, the availability of classwide arbitration is to be decided by a court rather than an arbitrator. The...more

Shipping 2014: United States

When does title in the ship pass from the shipbuilder to the shipowner? Can the parties agree to change when title will pass? Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, title to the vessel passes when the shipbuilder...more

Un-Vacated: Appellate Courts Save Arbitration Awards

In SPX Corp. v. Garda USA, Inc., __A.3d__, 2014 WL 2708631 (Del. June 16, 2014), the Delaware Court of Chancery vacated an arbitration award (under its state arbitration act) after concluding the arbitrator manifestly...more

Potential Limitations Placed on Unilateral Right to Modify Terms of Use

Contractual provisions giving a website operator the unilateral right to change its end user terms of service are ubiquitous and appear in the online terms of many major social media sites and other websites, including...more

“Manifest Disregard Of The Law” Is Alive And Well And Vacating Arbitrations In Fourth Circuit

The Federal Arbitration Act sets forth only four bases for vacating arbitration awards. See 9 U.S.C. § 10 (a). After SCOTUS’s 2008 decision in Hall Street, at least half of the circuit courts have concluded that those four...more

The Contract Is King: The U.S. Supreme Court’s Two Recent FAA Decisions

The U.S. Supreme Court addressed contract terms bearing on the availability of class arbitration in two opinions this term. The first, Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter, confirms a district court’s limited power under the...more

A Guide to Contract Interpretation - October 2013

In This Guide: - Introduction - Contract-Interpretation Flow Chart - Contract-Interpretation Principles And Case-Law Supplement - Excerpt From: Introduction: Transactional attorneys and...more

Additional Price of a Judicial Reaction: Waiver of One's Contractual Right to Arbitration

In Volpe v. Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc., No. 652308/2012, Judge Eileen Bransten denied plaintiff Ray Volpe’s (“Volpe”) motion to compel arbitration and granted defendant The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc.’s...more

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

Medicis Pharma. Corp. v. Anacor Pharma., Inc., C.A. No. 8095-VCP (Del. Ch. Aug. 12, 2013) (Parsons, V.C.)

In this opinion, the Court of Chancery denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint for specific performance of a license agreement, holding that the plaintiff’s claims were not subject to mandatory...more

"Business Cases in the US Supreme Court"

The U.S. Supreme Court recently closed its 2012 term with its usual headline-grabbing flurry of June decisions. Several of those decisions, as well as many more that received less publicity, will affect business interests. In...more

English High Court addresses separability of arbitration clauses

The English High Court in Beijing Jianlong Heavy Industry Group v Golden Ocean Group Limited & Ors1 recently addressed the issue of the separability of arbitration agreements and the circumstances in which public policy...more

In Oxford Health, Supreme Court Requires Class-Wide Arbitration of an Individual Claim

In its recent decision in Oxford Health Plans LLC. v. Sutter, 569 U.S. ____ (2013), the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that parties to an arbitration agreement still face the risk of class arbitration even if the agreement does...more

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Class Arbitration Ruling Where Parties Asked Arbitrator To Decide the Issue

In a rare unanimous decision on an arbitration issue, the Supreme Court upheld an arbitrator's ruling permitting the arbitration to proceed on a class-wide basis....more

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