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Nevada Supreme Court Reverses Ordered Arbitration as the FAA Preempts NRS 597.995

Nevada Revised Statutes section 597.995 requires agreements that include an arbitration provision to also include a specific authorization for the arbitration provision showing that the parties affirmatively agreed to that provision. When a settlement agreement referenced a licensing agreement that included an arbitration provision, the trial court denied the motion to compel arbitration, “concluding the arbitration provision was unenforceable because it did not include the specific authorization required by NRS 597.995.”

In reversing the decision, the Nevada Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 2, which provides that written provisions for arbitration are “valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract,” preempts section 597.995 and that the statute did not void the arbitration clause. The court cited Doctor’s Associates, Inc. v. Casarotto, 517 U.S. 681 (1996), wherein the “Supreme Court explained that under the FFA, courts may not ‘invalidate arbitration agreements under state laws applicable only to arbitration provisions,’ as Congress has ‘precluded states from singling out arbitration provisions for suspect status’ and requires arbitration provisions to be placed on ‘the same footing as other contracts.'” The parties were thus compelled to arbitrate.

MMAWC, LLC v. Zion Wood Obi Wan Tr., No. 75596 (Nev. Sept. 5, 2019)

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About this Author

Nora A. Valenza-Frost, Carlton Fields, Insurance lawyer
Associate

Nora Valenza-Frost represents U.S. and international insurers and reinsurers in arbitration and litigation involving complex claims, coverage and regulatory issues across all lines of business.

Nora provides coverage opinions for claims involving several lines of business, including commercial general liability (CGL), professional liability, directors and officers liability (D&O), contractor’s protective professional indemnity (CPPI), errors and omissions (E&O), excess and surplus lines, property, workers’ compensation, business interruption, life and health, pollution,...

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