Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

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Plaintiff filed a putative class action alleging that Uber engaged in illegal price fixing. After the district court denied Uber's motion to compel arbitration, holding that plaintiff did not have reasonably conspicuous notice of and did not unambiguously manifest assent to Uber's Terms of Service when he registered. The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment, holding that the Uber App provided reasonably conspicuous notice of the Terms of Service as a matter of California law, and plaintiff's assent to arbitration was unambiguous in light of the objectively reasonable notice of the terms. The court remanded to the district court to consider whether defendants have waived their rights to arbitration and for any further proceedings. View "Meyer v. Uber Technologies, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2015, Swain was fired from his job with Hermès managing the company’s New Jersey boutique at the Mall at Short Hills. Swain, a New Jersey resident, sued Hermès in New Jersey state court, asserting claims under New Jersey state law for discrimination and hostile work environment on the basis of sexual orientation, retaliation, and breach of contract. Swain named Hermès, and Bautista, who worked with Swain at the Short Hills Hermès store, as defendants. Asserting federal jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship, Hermès filed a petition in federal district court to compel arbitration under Federal Arbitration Act section 4, naming Swain as the only respondent and citing a dispute resolution protocol that he had allegedly signed. The Second Circuit affirmed, in favor of Hermès. Swain did not contest the arbitrability of his dispute or that Swain and Hermès were citizens of different states. The court rejected Swain’s argument that it should “look through” the petition to the underlying dispute, as defined in Swain’s New Jersey lawsuit, and conclude that complete diversity is lacking because Swain and Bautista, who is adverse to Swain in his state court litigation in New Jersey, are both citizens of that state. View "Hermès of Paris, Inc. v. Swain" on Justia Law

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To vacate an arbitration award on the ground that the award was fraudulently procured, the petitioner must demonstrate the fraud was material to the award. There must be a nexus between the alleged fraud and the decision made by the arbitrators. The petitioner, however, need not demonstrate that the arbitrators would have reached a different result. In this case, Odeon brought a petition to vacate an arbitral award involving claims arising out of the termination of one of its employees. Odeon alleged that the arbitrators engaged in misconduct and acted in manifest disregard of the law, and then sought to amend its petition to assert fraud as an additional ground for vacatur. The Second Circuit held that Odeon failed to establish that the employee's alleged perjury had any impact on the arbitration award. The court also held that the district court applied the wrong legal standard in denying the employee's request for attorneys' fees where New York law provided statutory authority for the fee request. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "Odeon Capital Group LLC v. Ackerman" on Justia Law

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Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(5) applies to a district court's consideration of a motion to vacate a judgment enforcing an arbitral award that has since been annulled in the primary jurisdiction. In this case, petitioners submitted to arbitration in Malaysia a commercial dispute arising from the terminations by Laos of contracts granting TLL rights to mine lignite. An arbitral panel found Laos in breach and awarded petitioners approximately $57 million. Petitioners subsequently began enforcement actions under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. Petitioners received judgment in their favor in the United States and United Kingdom. In 2012, the arbitral award was set aside. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's order vacating the United States judgment, holding that the district court did not exceed the permissible bounds of its discretion under the facts of this case. The court also held that the district court did not exceed the permissible bounds of its discretion in refusing to order Laos to post security during the pendency of its Rule 60(b) motion and any subsequent appeals, nor did it err by refusing to enforce the English judgment. View "Thai-Lao Lignite (Thailand) Co., Ltd. v. Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit held that the district court erred in declining to vacate an arbitral award‐creditor’s ex parte petition for entry of a federal judgment against a foreign sovereign premised on an award made under the International Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (ICSID Convention). The court rejected Mobil's argument that 22 U.S.C. 1650a provides an independent grant of subject‐matter jurisdiction for actions against foreign sovereigns and decided that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1330, 1391(f), 1441(d), 1602‐1611, provides the sole basis for subject‐matter jurisdiction over actions to enforce ICSID awards against a foreign sovereign. Because Mobil's utilization of ex parte proceedings were neither permitted by the FSIA nor required by Section 1650(a), the court reversed Venezuela's motion to vacate, vacated the judgment in favor of Mobil, and remanded with instructions to dismiss the ex parte petition. View "Mobil Cerro Negro, Ltd. v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" on Justia Law

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CBF, appellants and award-creditors, challenged the district court's two judgments dismissing CBF's initial action to enforce and subsequent action to confirm a foreign arbitral award against appellees as alter-egos of the then defunct award-debtor. The court granted appellees' petition for rehearing for the limited purpose of vacating the original decision and simultaneously issuing this amended decision to correct the court's instructions to the district court with regards to the applicable law for an enforcement action at Section I.c., infra. In No. 15‐1133, the court held that the district court both (1) erred in determining that the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 201 et seq., require appellants to seek confirmation of a foreign arbitral award before the award may be enforced by a United States District Court and (2) erred in holding that appellants' fraud claims should be dismissed prior to discovery on the ground of issue preclusion as issue preclusion was an equitable doctrine and appellants plausibly alleged that appellees engaged in fraud. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment and remanded for further proceedings. In 15‐1146, the court held that the appeal of the judgment dismissing the action to confirm was moot and accordingly dismissed that appeal. View "CBF Industria De Gusa S/A v. AMCI Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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CBF, appellants and award-creditors, challenged the district court's two judgments dismissing CBF's initial action to enforce and subsequent action to confirm a foreign arbitral award against appellees as alter-egos of the then defunct award-debtor. The court held that the district court erred in determining that the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 201 et seq., require appellants to seek confirmation of a foreign arbitral award before the award may be enforced by a United States District Court, and in holding that appellants’ fraud claims should be dismissed prior to discovery on the ground of issue preclusion as issue preclusion is an equitable doctrine and appellants plausibly allege that appellees engaged in fraud. In No. 15-1133, the court vacated the dismissal of the action to enforce and remanded for further proceedings. In No. 15-1146, the court found the appeal of the district court's order in the action to conform is moot and dismissed the appeal. View "CBF Industria De Gusa S/A v. AMCI Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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The parties cross appeal the district court's grant in part and denial in part of a motion for a preliminary injunction to bar enforcement of three local laws restricting operations at a public airport located in and owned and operated by the Town of East Hampton, New York. The district court enjoined the enforcement of only one of the challenged laws—imposing a weekly flight limit—concluding that it reflected a likely unreasonable exercise of the Town’s reserved proprietary authority which is excepted from federal preemption by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 (ADA), 49 U.S.C. 41713(b)(3). Plaintiffs contend that none of the challenged laws falls within the ADA’s proprietor exception to federal preemption because the Town failed to comply with the procedural requirements of the Airport Noise and Capacity Act of 1990 (ANCA), 49 U.S.C. 47521–47534, in enacting them. The court identified merit in plaintiffs’ ANCA argument and resolved these cross appeals on that basis without needing to address the Town’s proprietor exception challenge. The court concluded that plaintiffs (1) can invoke equity jurisdiction to enjoin enforcement of the challenged laws; and (2) are likely to succeed on their preemption claim because it appears undisputed that the Town enacted all three laws without complying with ANCA’s procedural requirements, which apply to public airport operators regardless of their federal funding status. The court affirmed the district court’s order insofar as it enjoins enforcement of the weekly flight‐limit law, but vacated the order insofar as it declines to enjoin enforcement of the other two challenged laws. Accordingly, the court remanded to the district court for the entry of a preliminary injunction as to all three laws and for further proceedings. View "Friends of The East Hampton Airport v. Town of East Hampton" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff signed an arbitration agreement providing that any disputes between her and her payday lender would be resolved by arbitration before the National Arbitration Forum (NAF). When plaintiff tried to take her case to arbitration, however, NAF refused to accept it pursuant to a consent decree that prohibited NAF from accepting consumer arbitrations. The court agreed with the district court that the arbitration agreement contemplated arbitration only before NAF and thus affirmed the district court's decision declining to compel arbitration before a different arbitrator. View "Moss v. First Premier Bank" on Justia Law

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Petitioner commenced arbitration against his former employers, who are both members of FINRA. This appeal stems from the dismissal of a petition to vacate an arbitral award pursuant to section 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 10. The district court held that internal FINRA rules do not present questions of federal law, and that plaintiff's reliance on his section 10(b) claim was “squarely foreclosed” by Greenberg v. Bear, Stearns & Co. Because the petition does not present a facial claim of any manifest disregard of federal law, the court must decide whether Greenberg remains good law in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Vaden v. Discover Bank. The court concluded that Vaden not only cast doubt on the court's precedent but rendered its holding fundamentally inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s analysis of jurisdictional inquiries under the Act. Accordingly, the court overruled Greenberg and concluded that federal courts may “look through” section 10 petitions, applying the ordinary principles of federal‐question jurisdiction to the underlying dispute as defined by Vaden. The court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Doscher v. Sea Port" on Justia Law