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Third Circuit Interprets Unique Arbitrability Language in Arbitration Clause

The Third Circuit determined that a former employee’s claim for retaliation against her employer was subject to arbitration per the arbitration clause in her employment agreement, which stated:

Except for actions for specific performance or injunctive relief, if a dispute or claim should arise that does not get resolved through negotiation of the parties, the parties will attempt in good faith to resolve the dispute or claim by mediation administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) under its Employment Mediation Rules, before resorting to arbitration.

The court noted that “[i]t does not appear that any federal court has addressed an arbitration agreement with language similar to this one. But in light of the presumption in favor of arbitrability, we think the phrase ‘if a dispute or claim should arise’ is best understood as functionally equivalent to more standard language that would expressly sweep in any claim relating to Dr. Monfared’s employment.”

The Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s decision confirming the arbitration award was affirmed.

Monfared v. St. Luke’s Univ. Health Network, No. 18-2850 (3d Cir. May 10, 2019)

©2011-2020 Carlton Fields, P.A. National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 150


About this Author

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

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,...