The US IA Digest collects in one place important decisions on US international arbitration case law issued since January 1, 2016, compiled and organized into categories that are most relevant and useful to practitioners and other interested parties. The Digest will be updated on a rolling basis as new decisions are issued.
Court denied defendants’ motion for a preliminary injunction to stay litigation pending court’s ruling on motion to compel arbitration and to stay magistrate judge’s order requiring the parties to participate in a settlement conference and initiate discovery. Court found defendants did not show irreparable harm or a likelihood of success on the merits of the motion to compel arbitration.
Court denied petitioner’s request to file under seal documents subject to a protective order issued by the AAA without prejudice to the parties explaining how the AAA opinion is not a “judicial document.” In the alternative, Court directed that if particular aspects of the opinion are legitimately confidential, the parties are to propose more narrow redactions.
Court granted motion to confirm arbitration award pursuant to the FAA. Court rejected defendant’s arguments that the award should be vacated because the arbitrator retained jurisdiction over the proceedings after a remand from a vacated collective arbitration award, did not allow additional discovery, and considered evidence presented in the prior arbitral proceeding.
Court of appeals affirmed the district court’s decision finding that 28 U.S.C. § 1782 does not authorize courts to compel discovery for use in private foreign arbitration. Court found that the Supreme Court’s decision in Intel did not authorize courts to provide discovery assistance in private foreign arbitrations and noted that interpreting § 1782 to include private foreign arbitral tribunals would conflict with the FAA.
Court granted motion to stay proceedings pending arbitration pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 3, finding that defendant had not breached the arbitration agreement by refusing to pay the disproportionate filing fee and did not waive the right to compel arbitration by participating in the litigation.
In re: Ex Parte Application of Axion Holding Cyprus Ltd. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 for Leave to Take Discovery for use in Foreign Proceedings, No. 1:20-MC-00290-MN (D. Del. Sept. 18, 2020)
Court denied petitioner’s ex parte application for leave to take discovery for use in two private LCIA arbitrations pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782. Court found that although the Third Circuit has not determined whether private commercial arbitrations are “tribunals” within the meaning of the statute, it agreed with the recent district court cases holding that private commercial arbitrations are not “tribunals.” Court rejected petitioner’s argument that the LCIA acts with the authority of the state because the tribunals are governed by the U.K. Arbitration Act of 1996 and the parties may seek judicial review.
Devas Multimedia Private Ltd. v. Antrix Corp. Ltd., No. 2:18-CV-01360-TSZ (W.D. Wash. Sept. 17, 2020)
Court granted motion to lift stay, finding that under the Europcar factors the stay was no longer warranted, particularly considering the protracted nature of the proceedings to set-aside the arbitration award in India. Court granted oral argument on motion to confirm arbitration award under the New York Convention.
Court of appeal reversed district court order vacating arbitration award relating to an employment dispute. Court of appeal held that the parties agreed to arbitrate all disputes relating to appellant’s employment and that the arbitrators did not exceed their powers.
Diverse Enterprises, Limited Company, L.L.C. v. Beyond International, Incorporated, No. 19-CV-51121 (5th Cir. Sept. 17, 2020)
Court of appeal affirmed district court order confirming arbitration award relating to a distribution agreement. Court of appeal held that the arbitrators did not exceed their powers in awarding attorneys’ fees.
Court granted defendants’ motion to compel arbitration of employment-related claims. Court rejected plaintiff’s contention that its claims were exempted by the FAA on the basis that it was a transportation worker.
Court denied defendants’ motion to compel arbitration of claims alleging violations of consumer protection laws. Court held that plaintiff’s claims against non-signatory defendant were not arbitrable under the terms of the arbitration agreement.
Sanders v. Allenbrooke Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, No. 2:20-CV-02001-SHM (W.D. Tenn. Sept. 17, 2020)
Court denied defendants’ motion to compel arbitration of wrongful death claims. Court held that no arbitration agreement had been formed in circumstances where the agreement was signed by a healthcare surrogate before the party on whose behalf the agreement was signed had been determined to lack capacity.
Court granted defendants’ motion to compel arbitration of claims relating to the sale of a power plant. Court rejected plaintiff’s argument that the contract containing the arbitration agreement was not concluded because plaintiff’s signatory did not have authority to bind it. Court also rejected plaintiff’s argument that the forum selection clause in another agreement between the parties controlled the subject matter of the dispute. Court held that the claims at issue fell within the scope of the arbitration agreement.
Court of appeal vacated district court order granting motion to compel arbitration of claims alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and New Mexico’s wage law. Court of appeal held that the district court erred by failing to first determine whether an agreement to
arbitrate was formed before sending the case to the arbitrator.
Court granted defendants’ motion to compel arbitration of claims brought under the Family Medical Leave Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Court rejected plaintiff’s argument that the arbitration agreement was void as against the public policy of New Jersey.
Court granted plaintiff’s petition to confirm arbitration award relating to employment claims. Court held that the arbitrator did not exceed its powers by deciding that defendant’s claims were time-barred.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1393 v. Carroll White Rural Electric Membership Corporation, No. 1:20-CV-1689-JMS (S.D. Ind. Sept. 16, 2020)
Court granted petition to compel arbitration of claims arising under a collective bargaining agreement. Court held that the terms of the collective bargaining agreement were wide enough to encompass the claims at issue.
Court of appeal affirmed district court order denying motion to compel arbitration of claims alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Court of appeal held that no arbitration agreement existed between the parties because the terms and conditions of the alleged agreement were not reasonably clear and conspicuous on the online form relied upon by defendant-appellant.
Court grated defendants’ motion to compel arbitration of claims brought by students against a private college. Court held that the parties delegated the question of arbitrability to the arbitrator.
Clayco Construction Co., Inc. v. Miles Construction Group, Inc., No. 4:20-MC-00524-HEA (E.D. Mo. Sept. 15, 2020)
Court granted plaintiff’s motion to confirm arbitration award relating to construction subcontracts. Court found that plaintiff failed to cite any grounds under the FAA to vacate the award.
Court denied defendant’s motion to compel arbitration of consumer debt claims. Court held that plaintiff, who was a non-signatory to the arbitration agreement, was not equitably estopped from avoiding the arbitration agreement because its claims fell outside the contract containing the arbitration agreement.
Court granted defendant’s motion to compel arbitration of fraud claims. Court held that the arbitration agreement delegated gateway questions of arbitrability to the arbitrator and that the plaintiff assented to the online arbitration agreement.
Tetronics (International) Limited v. BlueOak Arkansas LLC, No. 4:20-CV-00530-SWW (E.D. Ark. Sept. 14, 2020)
Court denied defendant’s motion to stay proceedings and refuse recognition of foreign arbitration award. Court held that defendant’s appeal in France in relation to the award was not a sufficient reason to stay confirmation proceedings and that the discretionary factors for a stay were not met. Court also held that no grounds for non-recognition under Article V of the New York Convention applied.
Court denied defendant’s motion to compel arbitration of claims brought under the False Claims Act. Court held that the arbitration agreement was procedurally unconscionable because plaintiff, a Spanish speaker, was incapable of understanding the contents of the English-language agreement and because of misrepresentations by defendant regarding the arbitration agreement.
Court denied plaintiff’s petition to vacate arbitration award relating to employee compensation claims. Court rejected plaintiff’s allegations that the arbitral tribunal showed partiality toward defendant, exceeded its authority, rendered an award in the absence of an arbitration agreement, and violated public policy.
Court of appeal vacated district court order vacating arbitration award for “evident partiality” based on the arbitrator’s failure to disclose connections with certain non-parties to the dispute. Court of appeal held that the circumstances fell short of a “concrete, not speculative” showing of a significant, compromising connection to the parties required for vacatur.
Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. v. Corporacion de Television y Microonda Rafa, S.A., No. 1:19-CV-08669-MKV (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 14, 2020)
Court granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment confirming foreign arbitration award relating to a television rights dispute. Court rejected defendant’s argument that the tribunal was not properly constituted because the arbitrator selection process was flawed. Court also rejected defendant’s allegation that the arbitrator erred in awarding attorney’s fees in the final award.
MZM Construction Company, Inc. v. New Jersey Building Laborers Statewide Benefit Funds, No. 18-CV-03791 (3d Cir. Sept. 14, 2020)
Court of appeal affirmed district court order enjoining arbitration of employee benefits claims pending resolution of factual issues bearing upon whether fraud in the execution vitiated the formation or existence of the contract containing the arbitration provision. Court of appeal held that pursuant to 9 USC § 4, the validity of the arbitration agreement concerned questions about the “making of the agreement to arbitrate” and was therefore a matter for the courts to decide in the absence of the parties having clearly and unmistakably referred those issues to arbitration in a written contract whose formation was not in issue.
United Government Security Officers of America International Union v. G4S Regulated Security Solutions, No. 1:19-CV-10373-ADB (D. Mass. Sept. 14, 2020)
Court granted plaintiff’s motion to compel arbitration of overtime compensation claims brought under a collective bargaining agreement. Court held that the overtime claims fell with the scope of the collective bargaining agreement and the arbitration agreement contained in it.
Court denied petitioner’s motion to reconsider court’s order denying a motion to vacate an award rendered by a panel of FINRA arbitrators. Court rejected petitioner’s argument that the award conflicted with certain public policies against the forfeiture of earned wages.
Yeomans v. World Financial Group Insurance Agency, Inc., No. 3:19-CV-00792-EMC (N.D. Cal. Sept. 11, 2020)
Court denied defendants’ motion to compel arbitration of employment-related claims. Court held that the arbitrability issue was governed by the FAA because the dispute affected interstate commerce. Court also held that four of the five plaintiffs were properly put on notice of the arbitration agreements in their employment contracts, but that one of the plaintiffs was not. Court found that the arbitration agreement was procedurally and substantively unconscionable.
Morris CM Enterprises, LLC v. Wingstop Franchising, LLC, No. 2:19-CV-02306-KJM (E.D. Cal. Sept. 11, 2020)
Court granted defendant’s motion to stay the case pending arbitration of claims relating to franchise agreements. Court found that the parties had agreed to delegate to the arbitrators the issue of arbitrability, including the plaintiff’s allegation that the arbitration agreement was unconscionable.