February 24, 2020

February 24, 2020

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Failure to Specifically Challenge “Delegation” Clause in Arbitration Agreement Means Motion to Compel Arbitration “Must Be Granted”

The plaintiff sued his former employer for discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, and violations of the Missouri Human Rights Act. The defendant moved to compel arbitration based on the parties’ Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate (MAA). The MAA incorporated the rules of the American Arbitration Association and the Judicial Arbitration & Mediation Services, both of which authorize the arbitrator to resolve threshold, or “gateway,” questions of arbitrability. As the court observed, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the incorporation of these rules into an arbitration agreement constitutes a “clear and unmistakable” expression of the parties’ intent to delegate arbitrability issues to the arbitrator, “unless the provision delegating such authority to the arbitrator is specifically challenged.” Here, the plaintiff did not specifically challenge the MAA’s delegation provision; he argued only that the MAA as a whole was unenforceable for lack of consideration. As such, the court granted the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration.

Murphy v. Oracle Am., Inc., No. 4:19-cv-01207 (E.D. Mo. June 19, 2019)

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About this Author

Alex Silverman, Insurance lawyer, Carlton Fields

Alex Silverman represents U.S. and international insurers and reinsurers in complex commercial litigation and arbitration, including complex insurance coverage disputes and reinsurance matters. He regularly litigates and counsels insurers in connection with multimillion-dollar first-party and third-party claims in state and federal courts across the country, and has also litigated large-scale commercial health care and insurance fraud actions on behalf of insurers, including False Claims Act and RICO actions. 

In addition, Alex has experience representing corporations in shareholder...