Hall Street and Manifest Disregard

Even Civil Procedure professors are now having fun with the “What did Hall Street mean” game, and the Fifth Circuit’s decision earlier this month in Citigroup v Bacon, (5th Cir. March 5, 2009), is the latest fodder for discussion.

Beth Thornburg, of SMU Law School, and William Slomanson, of Thomas Jefferson Law School, recently posted the following exchange to the civil procedure professors’ list-serv:

From: William Slomanson
To: Civil Procedure Listserv
Subject: [CIVPROMENTOR:411] Re: grounds for appeal of arbitration award under FAA

FWIW, there’s another angle on this split–state courts. For 17 years, the CA SCt has not permitted arbitration avoidance via error of law (over a harsh dissent). Six months after Hall , however, the CA SCt approved parties contracting around this arbitration limitation. Thus, parties in CA may now employ a contractual arb clause prohibiting the arbitrator from making an award containing an error of law. (So who’s going to write the seminal article for all st & fed jurisdictions?)

Thornburg, Beth wrote:
The Fifth Circuit has just extended the circuit split regarding whether “manifest disregard for the law” is still a valid ground to vacate an arbitral award after the Supreme  Court’s decision in Hall Street v. Mattel.  The Fifth Circuit’s answer:  NO.

Michael Moffitt

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