July 30, 2015 Articles

Developments on Judicial Review under the FAA after Hall Street

By Theodore K. Cheng

In Hall Street Associates, L.L.C. v Mattel, Inc., 552 U.S. 576, 581–84 (2008), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the grounds provided under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) for vacating or modifying arbitration awards are exclusive and may not be supplemented by an agreement of the parties. In holding that parties cannot contractually expand judicial review of arbitration awards under the FAA beyond what is provided for in the statute, the Court explicitly noted that it was addressing only "the scope of the expeditious judicial review under §§ 9, 10, and 11, deciding nothing about other possible avenues for judicial enforcement of arbitration awards," such as "enforcement under state statutory or common law." Hall St., 552 U.S. at 590. However, the Court also tacitly left open the question of whether parties could increase the level of judicial review or, alternatively, limit the scope of judicial review or even waive or eliminate it altogether. These issues have begun percolating through the circuit courts since Hall Street, and the following decisions illustrate some of these jurisprudential developments.

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