In recent months, three federal circuit courts have confronted this question: can a defendant compel arbitration even in the absence of a signed written agreement containing an arbitration clause? The answers were yes, no, and maybe, but the analysis in all three turns on whether the party resisting arbitration should reasonably have known that an arbitration clause was part of the deal.
In a fitting ending to a post about high courts, our nation’s highest court has agreed to decide a new arbitration case. The case, New Prime Inc. v . Oliveira, comes from the 1st Circuit and raises two questions: whether a court or arbitrator should decide if an exemption to the FAA applies; and whether the FAA’s exemption (in Section 1) includes independent contractors.