Marc J. Goldstein Arbitrator & Mediator NYC
January 10, 2010

Referring Arbitrability Issues to the Arbitrator

A decision from the Southern District of New York reminds us that an agreement to arbitrate under arbitration rules that give the arbitrator power to rule on her own jurisdiction will be “clear and unmistakable evidence” that the parties intended the arbitrator, not a court, to resolve all issues concerning the existence, validity and scope of the arbitration agreement. Here a publisher brought suit for copyright infringement, against the same infringer it had sued in a still-pending arbitration. The publisher claimed the actions concerned infringement in different time periods, one covered by the arbitration clause, the other not. As the clause called for arbitration under the AAA Commercial Rules, which clearly confer power on arbitrators to decide issues concerning their own jurisdiction, the court stayed the action pending arbitration. Argus Media, Ltd. v. Tradition Financial Services, Inc, 2009 U. S. Dist. LEXIS 120866 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 29, 2009).

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