Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1274246
 


 



Federal Question Jurisdiction and the Federal Arbitration Act


Richard A. Bales


Ohio Northern University - Ohio Northern University College of Law

Jamie Ireland


Northern Kentucky University - Salmon P. Chase College of Law

September 26, 2008

University of Colorado Law Review, Vol. 80, 2009

Abstract:     
The Federal Arbitration Act gives signatories to an arbitration agreement the right to have that agreement specifically enforced. The FAA does not, however, confer federal subject matter jurisdiction. Absent federal jurisdiction, a party seeking enforcement under the FAA must sue in state court. State courts, however, are far more likely than federal courts to use state contract law doctrines to avoid enforcing arbitration agreements. This has led parties seeking enforcement to look for other ways into federal court.

Some federal courts have found jurisdiction over enforcement actions when the underlying dispute involves a federal question, such as when an employer is seeking to enforce an arbitration agreement against an employee who has sued for employment discrimination under Title VII. These courts reason that the text and history of the FAA require courts to "look through" the dispute about enforceability to the underlying dispute. Other courts, however, have concluded that such a "look through" is inconsistent with the text and history of the FAA and with the well-pleaded complaint rule.

Our article explains that the difficulty of choosing one approach over the other is exacerbated because the same interpretive tools can be marshaled in favor of each approach, and because the arguments made using each interpretive tool are not mutually exclusive. Our article argues that courts should adopt the "look through" approach.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

Keywords: faa, federal arbitration act, jurisdiction, look through, underlying dispute

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Date posted: March 25, 2008 ; Last revised: May 25, 2009

Suggested Citation

Bales, Richard A. and Ireland, Jamie, Federal Question Jurisdiction and the Federal Arbitration Act (September 26, 2008). University of Colorado Law Review, Vol. 80, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1274246

Contact Information

Richard A. Bales (Contact Author)
Ohio Northern University - Ohio Northern University College of Law ( email )
525 South Main Street
Ada, OH 45810
United States
419-772-2205 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://law.onu.edu/node/3073
Jamie Ireland
Northern Kentucky University - Salmon P. Chase College of Law ( email )
Nunn Hall
Highland Heights, KY 41099
United States
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