Topic: Arbitration

Class Waiver Provisions in Arbitration Agreements Are Enforceable, Regardless of Arbitration Costs to Individual Plaintiff, Says United States Supreme Court.

A recent decision by the United States Supreme Court in American Express Co. et al. v. Italian Colors Restaurant et al., __ U.S. __ (June 20, 2013) marks a victory for many seeking to minimize their class action exposure through execution of arbitration agreements with consumers or employees. 

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The Supreme Court Rules that Courts Must Honor an Arbitrator’s Construction of Contractual Language in Favor of Class Arbitration, “However Good, Bad, or Ugly”

n Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter, 569 U.S. ____ (2013), the Supreme Court all but ordered the federal courts to not decide whether one person can pursue arbitration on behalf of a class of other people. Dr. John Sutter had a contract with Oxford Health Plans to provide his services to people Oxford insured. In exchange, Oxford would pay him. 

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UK: Warranty to Insure Creates an Assumption of Risk and Responsibility

In Bunga S.A. v. Kyla Shipping Company Limited [2012] EWHC 3522 (Comm), the Commercial Court considered whether an arbitrator had made an error of law under Section 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996. The court concluded that a continuing warranty to maintain hull insurance created an assumption of risk and responsibility, defeating the contention that a charterparty had been frustrated. 

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Binding Arbitration Clauses in Insurance Policies Found Unenforceable in Washington

In State of Wash. Dep’t of Transp. v. James River Ins. Co., No. 87644-4 (Wash. Jan. 17, 2013), the Washington Supreme Court recently determined that a state statute prohibits binding arbitration clauses in insurance policies. The decision arose out of an insurance coverage dispute between James River Insurance and one of its insureds, the Washington State Department of Transportation (the “Department”). 

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First Circuit: Arbitration Decision Bars Insured From Litigating Coverage Issues

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that the doctrine of issue preclusion barred an insured from litigating the applicability of an insurance policy exclusion where an arbitration panel had previously addressed a related, but not identical, question of law. The case is Manganella v. Evanston Insurance Company, No. 12-1137. A copy of the decision is available here

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UK: Court Proceedings Stayed in Turville v Chartis

In Turville Heath Inc v Chartis Insurance UK Limited [2012] EWHC 3019 (TCC), Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart in the High Court refused the defendant’s application for a stay of proceedings under s. 9 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (Arbitration Act) but granted a stay using the court’s inherent jurisdiction under s. 49 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 (SCA). 

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