Details: Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter
on Jun 10, 2013 at 11:10 am
This morning in an opinion announced by Justice Kagan for a unanimous Court, the Court held that the arbitrator’s decision in this case, which determined that the contract between the insurance company and doctors authorized class action arbitration, survives judicial review under §10(a)(4) of the Federal Arbitration Act. The case had started as a potentially major ruling on classwide arbitration, and the power of arbitrators to decide if those procedures could be utilized. But the Court found dispositive that the petitioner had agreed to allow the arbitrator to decide the issue. On that basis alone, it held it could not disturb the arbitrator’s ruling that the contract permits classwide arbitration. The Court left open whether the petitioner’s concession was correct – i.e., whether that is in fact an issue for the arbitrator to resolve rather than the Court. So the case is unlikely to have much if any broader significance.