Fifth Circuit Rules that Courts, Not Arbitrators, Decide “Gateway Issue” of Class Arbitrability

In 20/20 Communications, Inc. v. Crawford, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently ruled that the question of whether a dispute can be arbitrated on a class-wide basis is a threshold issue that is presumptively for a court, not an arbitrator, to decide. This is the latest in a series of decisions by the Supreme Court of the United States and courts of appeals in favor of arbitration agreements that waive class procedures.

Supreme Court Concludes “Wholly Groundless” Exception Is Inconsistent With Federal Arbitration Act

On January 8, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States decided whether courts may disregard contractual language calling for an arbitrator to decide questions of arbitrability if the argument that the arbitration agreement applies to the particular dispute is “wholly groundless.” The Court ruled that a “wholly groundless” exception is inconsistent with the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), and courts are not free to override the terms of parties’ agreements to arbitrate.

Seventh Circuit Joins Sister Circuits in Holding That Courts, not Arbitrators, Should Decide the Availability of Class Arbitration

In a matter of first impression before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals involving an issue left open by the Supreme Court of the United States, a Seventh Circuit panel issued an opinion on a key threshold question of class arbitrability. The question was who decides—a court or an arbitrator—whether arbitration can proceed on a class or collective basis.

An Epic Checklist: What to Consider When Adopting Class Action Waivers in Employment Arbitration Agreements

In Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis, the Supreme Court of the United States held that class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement are enforceable. Yet, arbitration agreements containing such waivers may still be challenged on a variety of grounds. The law in this area is often unsettled or unclear and changes frequently. The following checklist identifies key issues employers may want to consider when adopting a class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement.

Missouri Supreme Court Punts Two Lawsuits in a Row, on Direct Flights to Arbitration

Arbitration agreements have faced tackles and turbulence in a series of cases litigated in Missouri courts over the past few years. In the fall of 2017, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued two favorable arbitration agreement decisions: one involved an aviation school, the other arose from a training facility lease with the Rams football team, which has since left Missouri for California and was previously involved in a different arbitration-related case in Missouri.

Sixth Circuit Adopts NLRB’s D.R. Horton Rule and Deepens Circuit Split on Class Action Waivers

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals—apparently unable to wait a few months for the Supreme Court of the United States to rule on the issue—has now cast its lot with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Seventh and Ninth Circuits in finding class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).