Arbitration

July 23rd, 2019 by Rieders Travis in Arbitration

FEDERAL ARBITRATION ACT-CLASS ARBITRATION-AMBIGUITY Lamps Plus, Inc., et al v. Varela, 2019 Supreme Court (April 24, 2019) Roberts, C.J.-The Federal Arbitration Act requires courts to enforce covered arbitration agreements according to their terms. See 9 U.S.C. §2. In Stolt-Nielsen, S.A. v. Animal Feeds Int’l Corp., 599 U.S. 662 (2010), we held that a court may not compel arbitration on a classwide basis when an agreement is “silent” on the availability of such arbitrations. Because class arbitration fundamentally changes the nature of the “traditional individualized arbitration” envisioned by the FAA, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 584 U.S. ___, ____ (2018) (slip op., at 8), “ a party may not be compelled under the FAA to submit to class arbitration unless there is a contractual basis for concluding that the party agreed to do so,” Stolt-Nielsen, 559 U.S., at 684 (emphasis in original). We now consider whether the FAA similarly bars an order requiring class arbitration when an agreement is not silent, but rather “ambiguous” about the availability of such arbitration. “[T]he first principle that underscores all of our arbitration decisions” is that “[a]rbitration is strictly a matter of consent.” Granite Rock…