May 10, 2012 Articles

Trends in Court Interference with Pending Arbitration Proceedings

By Adam Waskowski

The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) does not expressly allow courts to enjoin or otherwise interfere with pending arbitration proceedings. Accordingly, some courts have held that they lack the power to do so. See, e.g., Hicks v. Cadle, no. 04-cv-02616, 2008 WL 2324129 at *2 (D. Colo. June 2, 2008) ("the FAA does not authorize the courts to interfere with ongoing arbitration proceedings by making interlocutory rulings related to the arbitration").

Other courts recognize an implied power to intervene in pending arbitration proceedings, but even these courts historically have been reluctant to do so. As one court explained, the "purpose [of arbitration] is the speedy disposition of disputes without the expense and delay of extended court proceedings. It is this fear of needlessly prolonging disputes which has made courts reluctant to stay or enjoin ongoing arbitrations in favor of court proceedings." In re Y & A Group Sec. Litig., 38 F.3d 380, 382 (8th Cir. 1994) (internal citations omitted); see also Tejidos De Coamo, Inc. v. Int'l Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, Civ. No. 93-1026, 1993 WL 34609, at *2 (D.P.R. Jan. 20, 1993) ("there is a considerable reluctance on the part of any court to enjoin an arbitration"); Candor Central School Dist. v. Am. Arbitration Ass'n, 411 N.Y.S.2d. 162, 164 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1978) (noting "long-established judicial reluctance to intervene in [arbitration] process").

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