May 12, 2015 Articles

Young Lawyers: Recognizing "Sham" Agreements to Arbitrate

By P. Jean Baker

When parties execute arbitration agreements, they typically do so because they believe the arbitral process will have a meaningful outcome and be fairly conducted. When the arbitration agreement specifies an established set of arbitration rules and administration by a recognized ADR provider, such as the American Arbitration Association (AAA), these are reasonable expectations.

But what if the arbitration agreement references an unknown provider of arbitration services, namely the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe? Recent decisions by the Eleventh and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeals addressed this issue and decided the arbitration agreements were unenforceable.

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