May 10, 2016 Articles

Appealing Arbitration Awards and the Circuit Split over "Manifest Disregard of the Law"

A case currently before the Fifth Circuit has the potential to resolve the circuit split.

By Jason P. Steed

Appealing an arbitration award has always been hard, and—according to some circuits—the Supreme Court recently made it harder. Under section 10 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), a court may vacate an arbitration award only

(1) where the award was procured by corruption, fraud, or undue means;

(2) where there was evident partiality or corruption in the arbitrators . . . ;

(3) where the arbitrators were guilty of misconduct in refusing to postpone the hearing, or in refusing to hear evidence pertinent and material to the controversy, or of any other misbehavior by which the rights of any party have been prejudiced; or

(4) where the arbitrators exceeded their powers, or so imperfectly executed them that a mutual, final, and definite award upon the subject matter submitted was not made.

9 U.S.C. § 10(a)(1)–(4).

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