March 07, 2017 Top Story

Court Refuses to Defer to Arbiter Who Exceeded Power

Arbitrator exceeds authority interpreting silence as ambiguity

Candice A. Garcia-Rodrigo

When an agreement clearly provides responsibilities of parties, an arbitrator exceeds its authority by interpreting silence in an agreement to be an ambiguity, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Straying from the limited judicial review of arbitration decisions, the Seventh Circuit Court reversed the arbitrator's interpretation of the parties' collective bargaining agreement.ABA Section of Litigation leaders agree the opinion expands the scope of judicial review of arbitration decisions, and drafters should avoid the provision used in this case. U.S. Soccer Federation, Inc. v. US National Soccer Team Players Assoc.

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