August 01, 2013 Articles

Arbitral Decisions Upheld under the FAA

By Crystal R. Axelrod and James Hatchitt

In Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter, the U.S. Supreme Court held that where the parties agreed to let the arbitrator decide whether their contract authorized class arbitration and the arbitrator made a good-faith attempt to interpret the contract, the arbitrator did not exceed his powers under section 10(a)(4) of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), regardless of the correctness of his interpretation. No. 12-135, 2013 WL 2459522 (June 10, 2013) (citing 9 U.S.C. § 10(a)(4)). “Under § 10(a)(4), the question for a judge is not whether the arbitrator construed the parties’ contract correctly, but whether he construed it at all.” Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment of the Third Circuit in denying Oxford’s motion to vacate the arbitrator’s decision.

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