February 06, 2014 Articles

Determining Arbitrability when the Relationship Between Parties Is Governed by Multiple Agreements

By Michael J. Miles, Esq.

"Arbitration is strictly a matter of consent and thus is a way to resolve those disputes—but only those disputes—that the parties have agreed to submit to arbitration." Granite Rock Co. v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 561 U.S. 287, 130 S.Ct. 2847, 2857 (2010) (internal quotes and cites omitted).

The question of whether parties have agreed to submit their disputes to arbitration can become a difficult one when multiple agreements exist between them. Some of the agreements may contain arbitration provisions; others may not. Moreover, disparities may exist between the arbitration provisions contained in the different agreements. Determining whether disputes must be arbitrated, and the terms of any arbitration, can itself lead to new disputes among the parties.

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