2009 Arbitration Case Law: Fifth Circuit


In 2009, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided the following arbitration-related cases:

In Cont’l Airlines, Inc. v. Air Line Pilots Ass’n, No. 07-20835 (5th Cir. Jan. 13, 2009) the court concluded that the district court had no statutory authority to reverse a reinstatement order issued by the System Board of Adjustment and that its order cannot be sustained on grounds of public policy.

In Agere Systems Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., No. 07-40984 (5th Cir. Feb. 18, 2009) the court held that the question of arbitrability should be decided by an arbitrator.

In Citigroup Global Markets Inc. v. Bacon, No. 07-20670 (5th Cir. Mar. 5, 2009) the court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) provides the exclusive grounds to vacate arbitral awards and rejected the doctrine of “manifest disregard” of the law. (read more here and here)

In Geraldine Nicholas v. KBR, Inc., No. 08-20140, (5th Cir. Mar. 15, 2009) the court affirmed the district court’s ruling denying an employee’s motion to compel arbitration of a contract dispute with her former employer because she waived her right to arbitrate when she substantially invoked the judicial process to the prejudice of her employer. (read more here)

In Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society/ Omaha Woodmen Life Insurance Society v. JRY, No. 08-30405 (5th Cir. Mar. 23, 2009) the court held that tort claims fell within an arbitration agreement. (read more here)

In Nat’l Resort Mgmt v. Cortez , No. 08-10805 (5th Cir. Mar. 31, 2009), the court cited Hall Street v. Mattel and Citigroup v. Bacon, stating that “the number of grounds for challenging an arbitration award has been substantially reduced.”

In Graves v. BP American Inc., No. 08-40575 (5th Cir. May 6, 2009), the court held that non-signatories plaintiffs were bound by the arbitration agreement between decedent and his employer. (read more here)

In Symetra Life Ins. Co. v. Rapid Settlements Ltd., No. 08-20248 (5th Cir. May 11, 2009), the court held that arbitration cannot be used to circumvent procedural requirements of the Texas Structured Settlement Protection Act and affirmed the district court’s refusal to confirm an arbitration award. (read more here)

In Green v. Service Corporation International, No. 08-20607 (5th Cir. June 2, 2009) the court held that a company did not waive its right to arbitration by participating in administrative proceedings initiated by the employee and affirmed the district court’s confirmation of an arbitration award. (read more here)

In Saipem America v. Wellington Underwriting Agencies Limited, No. 08-20247 (5th Cir. June 9, 2009) the court held that an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitral tribunal did not exceed its powers and affirmed the confirmation of the arbitral award. (read more here)

In Petroleum Pipe Americas Co., v. Jindal Saw Ltd., No. 08-20461 (5th Cir. July 9, 2009) the court held that a party waived its right to arbitrate by waiting one year after the suit was filed before seeking to compel arbitration. (read more here)

In El Paso Corporation v. La Comision Ejecutiva, No. 08-20771 (5th Cir. Aug. 6, 2009) the court held that section 1782 (Assistance to Foreign and International Tribunals and to Litigants Before such Tribunals) does not apply for a discovery motion for use in a private international arbitration. (read more here)

In ENSCO International Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s et. al., No. 08-10451 (5th Cir. Aug. 12, 2009) the court held that a contract containing a choice of law and forum clause effectively waives the right to remove to federal court under the New York Convention. (read more here)

In Jones v. Halliburton Co., No. 08-20380 (5th Cir. Sept. 15, 2009) the court held that claims for (1) assault and battery; (2) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (3) negligent hiring, retention and supervision of employees involved in a sexual assault; and (4) false imprisonment are not related to the plaintiff’s employment contract and refused to compel arbitration. (read more here and here; Guest-Post by F. Peter Phillips is here)

In Theriault v. FIA Card Services, N.A., No. 09-30233 (5th Cir. Oct. 8, 2009) the court confirmed a credit card dispute arbitration award issued by the National Arbitration Forum. (read more here)

In Uniited Forming, Inc. v. Faulknerusa, LP, No. 09-50073 (5th Cir. Oct. 27, 2009) the court reaffirmed that the FAA provides the exclusive grounds to vacate arbitral awards after Hall Street v. Mattel(read more here)

In Dealer Computers Svc v. Old Colony Motors, No. 09-20049 (5th Cir. Nov. 19, 2009) the court held that the payment of a deposit for an arbitration was a procedural matter for the arbitrators to decide. (read the case summary here and the commentary by Professor Alan Scott Rau here)

In The Householder Group v. Caughran , No. 09-40111 (5th Cir. Nov. 20, 2009) the court affirmed the lower court’s decision to confirm the arbitral award, despite challenge based on evident partiality and actual bias. (read more here)

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