September 20, 2021

Volume XI, Number 263

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September 17, 2021

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Assessing the Amount in Controversy When Seeking to Vacate an Arbitral Award

Yesterday’s published decision in Hale v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC established the law of the circuit on a nifty issue of subject matter jurisdiction in the context of arbitration. Where a plaintiff from one state has initiated arbitration against a defendant from another state, seeking millions, but has then received an arbitral award of zero, does a federal court have diversity jurisdiction to entertain the plaintiff’s motion under 9 U.S.C. § 10(a) to vacate the arbitral award? Yes, it does. In an opinion by Judge Donald for a panel that also included Chief Judge Cole and Judge Readler, the Sixth Circuit revisited its last published opinion germane to the issue (decided over 25 years ago!) and explained that its conclusion “was not that the amount of the arbitrator’s award should be considered when calculating the amount in controversy in this context, but that in making such determinations, it is necessary to look to the amount alleged to be in controversy in the complaint.”

© Copyright 2021 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 351
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About this Author

Benjamin C. Glassman Trial Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Cincinnati, OH & Columbus, OH
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Former US Attorney Benjamin Glassman helps clients with some of their most difficult and sensitive problems -- whether by providing strategic advice, leading internal investigations or representing them at trial or on appeal. He divides his time between the Cincinnati and Columbus offices.

Ben served as the US Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio from 2016 to 2019, working in both Democratic and Republican administrations. As the chief federal law enforcement official for the more than 5 million residents of Ohio’s southern 48 counties, he oversaw the work of approximately 65...

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