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Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh delivered his first opinion for the high court Tuesday in a case concerning the Federal Arbitration Act.
The Supreme Court adopted a pro-arbitration bent in recent years. Arbitration is a dispute resolution process that takes place outside courts. Advocates of arbitration say it provides for the settlement of controversies without the time and expense of litigation.
Question - Tuesday - Case - Court - Matters
The legal question in Tuesday’s case was fairly straightforward: The Court had to determine who decides whether frivolous matters can reach arbitration in the first place — an arbitrator or a court.
The case arose in a contract dispute between a dental equipment distributor and a manufacturer. Their contract provides that disputes arising from the agreement will be resolved in arbitration, except in instances where one party is seeking an injunction.
Distributor - Manufacturer - Violations - Court - Injunction
The distributor sued the manufacturer in 2013 for antitrust violations in federal court and asked for an injunction. The manufacturer moved to compel arbitration. The distributor opposed that move, saying their contract clearly prohibits arbitration when a party is seeking an injunction.
A federal judge in Texas sided with the distributor, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision. Even though arbitrators generally decide which matters proceed to arbitration, the lower court said judges — not arbitrators —...
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