2011 Arbitration Case Law | U.S. Supreme Court

Welcome to Disputing‘s 2011 Year-End Highlights. During this year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided several cases related to arbitration:

  • On April 27, 2011, in a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the the Federal Arbitration Act preempted California law with regard to class arbitration in AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion, 09-893, (April 27, 2011). Read James Gaitis guest-posts about the case here and here.
  • On May 17, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari (No. 10-1213) to Trustmark Ins. Co. v. John Hancock Life Ins. Co., 631 F.3d 869 ( 7th Cir. 2011). The Seventh Circuit had held that an arbitration panel has authority to determine what a confidentiality agreement requires, when the agreement was closely related to an insurance arbitration that was already underway.
  • On June 14, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. v. FensterstockNo. 09-1562-cv. In Fensterstock v. Education Finance Partners, Inc., No. 08-CV-3622, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30457 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York had held that an arbitration agreement containing a class action waiver within a student loan promissory note is unconscionable and unenforceable as a matter of California law. Read more here.
  • On November 7, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court held that courts must enforce arbitration agreements even if the plaintiff’s Complaint contains nonarbitrable claims. In KPMG LLP v. Cocchi565 U.S. ___ ( 2011) the Fourth District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida upheld a trial court’s refusal to compel arbitration in a lawsuit involving claims brought against the auditing firm KPMG LLP(“KPMG”) by investors owners of a limited partnership (“Respondents”) who were defrauded by Bernie Madoff. Respondents alleged four causes of action: negligent misrepresentation; violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act; professional malpractice; and aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty. Read more here.
  • On November 14, 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court remanded Branch Banking and Trust v. Gordon for the Eleventh Circuit to reconsider its decision in light of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 563 U. S. ___ (2011). In Gordon v. Branch Banking & Trust, 419 Fed. Appx. 920 (11th Cir. Fla. 2011) the Eleventh Circuithad ruled that an arbitration provision in a consumer checking account agreement was unenforceable because the arbitration provision’s non-severable waiver of the right to a class action was substantively unconscionable under Georgia law.

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