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Posts published in “Arbitration & ADR”

Mass. Superior Court Affirms Mutual Request for Attorneys’ Fees in Arbitration Can Provide Requisite Legal Basis for Award of Fees

The Massachusetts Superior Court, Business Litigation Session, recently denied a broker-dealer’s motion to vacate a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration award requiring it to pay attorneys’ fees to its former employees, holding that the parties’ mutual request for attorneys’ fees in an arbitration can provide the requisite legal basis for an award of attorneys’ fees.

Mass. SJC: Debt Collector Can’t Use Arbitration Provision to Thwart Class Action

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently affirmed a lower court’s denial of a debt collector’s motion to compel arbitration, holding that the defendant had failed to provide “clear and definite” evidence of the parties’ intent that it benefit from the arbitration provision at issue.

NY High Court Rules in Favor of Lender in Action to Recover Settlement and Defense Costs From Insurer

In an action by a lender and its affiliate to recover insurance proceeds for defense costs of a federal qui tam action and indemnification for the resulting settlement, the New York Court of Appeals recently held that an arbitration panel can reconsider an initial determination, or “partial final award,” so long as the determination or award does not resolve all of the issues submitted for arbitration.

5th Cir. Affirms Order Compelling Arbitration of Age Discrimination Claim

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently affirmed a trial court’s order compelling the arbitration of an employee’s federal age discrimination claim against a financial institution employer, holding that the trial court correctly found that there was a meeting of the minds between the employee and the employer as required to form the arbitration agreement.

5th Cir. Reverses Denial of Motion to Compel Arbitration in TILA Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently reversed the denial of a lender’s motion to compel arbitration in an adversary bankruptcy proceeding for allegedly violating the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA), holding that -- despite conflicting clauses in two different relevant agreements -- the parties had entered into a valid arbitration agreement that delegated the threshold issue of arbitrability to the arbitrator.

5th Cir. Holds Bankruptcy Discharge Violations Not Always Subject to Arbitration

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently affirmed a bankruptcy court order denying a bank’s motion to compel arbitration, holding that when a debtor seeks to enforce a discharge injunction, a bankruptcy court may decline to compel arbitration because it implicates a bankruptcy court’s ability to enforce its own orders. A copy of the opinion in Henry v. Educational Financial Service is available at:  Link to Opinion. A borrower took out a student loan and subsequently filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court confirmed the plan.  The borrower made the payments to her creditors, including her…

11th Cir. Holds Lender’s Forum Selection and Class Action Waiver Clauses Unenforceable

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently affirmed the denial of a lender’s motions to dismiss and to strike a complaint filed on behalf of a class of borrowers who entered into loan agreements with the lender and its affiliates. In so ruling, the Eleventh Circuit held that the loan agreements’ forum selection clause and class action waivers were unenforceable under Georgia’s Payday Lending Act and Industrial Loan Act, as enforcement would undermine the purpose and spirit of Georgia’s statutory scheme including to preserve class actions as a remedy. A copy of the opinion in Davis v.…

8th Cir. Affirms Denial of Motion to Compel Arbitration in FLSA Case Against Lender

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently affirmed the denial of a lender’s motion to compel arbitration over a suit filed by a former employee alleging violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In so doing, the Court held that the former employee’s mere review of the employee handbook, and the arbitration and delegation provisions therein, did not constitute acceptance of the relevant clauses, and without acceptance no valid contracts to arbitrate their disputes or delegate the decision to an arbitrator were formed. A copy of the opinion in Shockley v. PrimeLending is available at: …

NJ Supreme Court Holds Invalidity of Transaction as a Whole Does Not Negate Arbitration Agreement

The Supreme Court of New Jersey held that where a plaintiff challenges the validity of a transaction as a whole and not specifically the arbitration agreement that is included as part of a transaction, the plaintiff must arbitrate their claims because an arbitration agreement is severable and enforceable, notwithstanding a plaintiff’s general claims about the invalidity of the transaction as a whole. Accordingly, the judgment of the appellate court was reversed and the trial court orders compelling arbitration were reinstated. A copy of the opinion in Goffe v. Foulke Management Corp. is available at:  Link to Opinion. The plaintiffs each purchased cars…

SCOTUS Holds Ambiguous Agreement Not Enough for Classwide Arbitration

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States  recently held that under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), an ambiguous agreement cannot provide the necessary contractual basis for concluding that the parties agreed to submit to class arbitration. Accordingly, the contrary ruling of the Ninth Circuit was reversed and the matter was remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. A copy of the opinion in Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela is available at:  Link to Opinion. The defendant company sells light fixtures and related products.  In 2016, a hacker impersonating a company official tricked a company employee into…

1st Cir. Rejects Challenges to Arbitration of Putative Class Action

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently affirmed dismissal of a putative class action lawsuit that challenged the company’s arbitration clause. The Court rejected the named plaintiff’s primary argument that the arbitration clause’s arbitration-fee-splitting arrangement was unconscionable and unenforceable, because the trial court was allowed to consider the defendant’s offer to pay for the full costs of arbitration, thus rendering the clause enforceable under Massachusetts’ Wage Act, because the potential costs of arbitration were less than the cost of potential recovery. A copy of the opinion in Bekele v. Lyft, Inc. is available at:  Link to Opinion. In…