SCOTUS to Take Up FAA Section 16 Question

This article was first published on the Securities Arbitration Alert blog, here.

Reversing a recent trend, the Supreme Court has agreed to review an arbitration-related case this Term.

Specifically, the Court’s December 9 Order List grants Certiorari in Coinbase, Inc. v. Bielski, No. 22-105. The issue in this case is a technical one, as described in the July 29 Petition:

“Under § 16(a) of the Federal Arbitration Act, when a district court denies a motion to compel arbitration, the party seeking arbitration may file an immediate interlocutory appeal. This Court has held that an appeal ‘divests the district court of its control over those aspects of the case involved in the appeal.’ Griggs v. Provident Consumer Disc. Co., 459 U.S. 56, 58 (1982) (per curiam).

The question presented is:

“Does a non-frivolous appeal of the denial of a motion to compel arbitration oust a district court’s jurisdiction to proceed with litigation pending appeal, as the Third, Fourth, Seventh, Tenth, Eleventh and D.C. Circuits have held, or does the district court retain discretion to proceed with litigation while the appeal is pending, as the Second, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits have held?” (links added ).

(ed: *We covered in SAA 2022-17 (May 5) the trial court decision below, Bielski v. Coinbase, Inc., No. C21-07478, 2022 WL 1062049 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 8, 2022). There, the District Court, applying California contract law, held that the predispute arbitration agreement covering the case before it was both substantively and procedurally unconscionable. The subsequent District Court and Ninth Circuit decisions declining to stay the case pending the appeal are unreported. **A prediction in our October 3 blog post, First Monday in October: Some Arbitration-Centric Cases Worth Followinggets partial credit. “We’re reasonably certain another Cert. grant is coming this Term. Time will certainly tell, but closing the loop on FAA section 1 coverage of delivery and rideshare drivers seems very likely.”)

author

George Friedman

George H. Friedman is the publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the Securities Arbitration Alert, a weekly online publication covering the latest developments in financial services arbitration and mediation. He is also the principal of George H. Friedman Consulting, LLC, providing expert advice on arbitration and mediation in general and the FINRA…

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