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Who Decides Consolidation Issue? A New Arbitration Panel or the Old One?

It is pretty well settled under modern arbitration law, including reinsurance arbitrations, that procedural issues like consolidation are questions for the arbitrators and not the courts.  But what happens if there are multiple arbitration panels?  Which panel decides the consolidation application?  And what if one arbitration has been completed and a motion to consolidate is … Continue Reading

In State Court It’s Just as Tough to Vacate an Arbitration Award

Most commercial arbitrations fall under the Federal Arbitration Act.  But some arbitrations are intra-state so they come within the various state arbitration laws.  In New York, for example, Article 75 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules governs arbitration.  When it comes to vacating an arbitration award, however, choosing state law over the FAA is … Continue Reading

It’s Not Over Until It Is Over

In reinsurance arbitrations, once the arbitration panel issues its final award its job is over.  That’s what the doctrine of functus officio means.  But there are exceptions to the functus officio rule (see our Blog from November 2018).  Additionally, what happens when a panel retains jurisdiction after issuing the final award?  In a recent case, … Continue Reading

Pre-Answer Security and Preclusion Based on Arbitral Decision — Who Decides?

In reinsurance disputes where one party is insolvent or has financial difficulties, the other side often demands security.  Where a non-domiciliary is involved, some states have pre-answer security requirements, which have been held to apply in reinsurance arbitrations.  In a procedurally complicated case, where an arbitration panel issued a security award and then stayed the … Continue Reading

How Does the Latest US Supreme Court Ruling on Class Arbitration Affect Reinsurance Arbitration?

The US Supreme Court’s pronouncements on class arbitration have little to do with reinsurance arbitrations.  But, when the Supreme Court speaks on arbitrations and construes the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), there may be statements or even holdings by the court that could affect aspects of reinsurance arbitrations, so we pay attention.  In the most recent … Continue Reading

Enforcement of Arbitration Subpoenas and Summonses

Sometimes it is necessary to obtain evidence from non-parties during a reinsurance arbitration.  Yet, the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not expressly sanction non-party (or for that matter any) pre-hearing discovery.  In practice, however, most parties ask the arbitration panel to issue a subpoena to a “hearing” and then negotiate with the non-party about producing … Continue Reading

When Arbitrators Exceed Their Powers

When an arbitration panel issues a final award any challenge to that award faces an uphill battle.  That is because under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) a final arbitration award must be confirmed (if requested) and can only be vacated for a very narrow set of reasons.  Of the four grounds for vacatur under Section … Continue Reading

New Arbitrability Decision from the Supreme Court

A new arbitration decision was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 8, 2019.  My colleagues in our labor and employment practice swiftly blogged about the new decision so I won’t repeat their cogent analysis. The case has nothing to do with insurance or reinsurance. But the principles set forth by Justice Kavanaugh … Continue Reading

New Case on Consolidation in Reinsurance Arbitrations

It’s pretty clear in most jurisdictions that the question of whether disputes under multiple reinsurance contracts should be consolidated is a question for the arbitrators and not the court.  What’s less clear is how the parties get an arbitration panel in place to address the consolidation issue. A California federal court recently addressed this issue.… Continue Reading

Second Circuit Affirms Exception to Functus Officio Rule in Arbitration

In 2017, we discussed a reinsurance case where the district court articulated an exception to the functus officio rule that allows for clarification of an arbitral award.  The Second Circuit has now affirmed that decision and joins the Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits in allowing this exception.… Continue Reading

Confidentiality Agreements in Reinsurance Arbitrations

Confidentiality agreements in reinsurance arbitrations are ubiquitous, but often cause concern when a subsequent arbitration arises over the same or similar contracts with the same or similar parties.  A question that has arisen with some frequency, but which has not been fully addressed in court, is whether the confidentiality agreement in the first arbitration precludes … Continue Reading

Arbitration Award Clarification Confirmation

Generally, when an arbitration panel issues a final award the panel is “functus officio“; its powers expired and its duties relieved because it has finished its work and there’s no more to be done.  Sometimes, however, an arbitration panel will retain jurisdiction for a period of time after the final award is issued in case … Continue Reading

June 2017 Reinsurance Newsletter

This quarter’s Squire Patton Boggs Reinsurance Newsletter leads off with a summary of a New York federal case where an arbitration award was vacated for evident partiality.  It also features an update on the US-EU Covered Agreement. Please enjoy.… Continue Reading

Exculpatory Clauses in Reinsurance Agreements

Exculpatory clauses appear in many contracts. They are often used to protect a contracting party from damages caused by its actions or the actions of others. For example, a hold harmless clause may protect one party from third-party suits caused by the alleged negligence of the other party. Exculpatory clauses, like hold harmless or indemnification clauses, … Continue Reading

American Rule Prevails on Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award

Some contracts, including insurance and reinsurance contracts, include provisions providing that the successful party’s damage award will include all costs of the suit or arbitration, including attorney fees. This type of clause modifies the traditional default American Rule of costs and fees, in which each litigant pays its own attorney fees, win or lose. What … Continue Reading

Evident Partiality As a Ground to Vacate An Arbitration Award

Most insurance and reinsurance arbitrations fall within the scope of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) because they involve interstate commerce. But vacating an FAA arbitration award (there is no “appeal”) is an uphill battle. Only limited grounds exist to mount the challenge and very few challenges are successful. Evident partiality is one of those grounds.… Continue Reading

Too Little, Too Late: Post-Arbitration Award Frustrations

Armchair quarterbacking or second-guessing an outcome after an event has occurred is a skill displayed by many. The same is true following a reinsurance arbitration award. It is very easy to second-guess the arbitration award or wish that some evidence or testimony was presented differently. Anyone who has ever had an arbitration award that was … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Explains (Again) Why Courts Should Not Interfere With Arbitration

Arbitrators and judges have a natural tension. Judges, especially federal judges, wield enormous power and command authority and respect. Arbitrators, particularly in specialized industries like insurance and reinsurance, are typically former executive officers of companies and do not preside over anything other than the particular arbitral dispute to which they have been appointed. Arbitrators, again … Continue Reading

The Honorable Engagement Clause and Flexibility In Arbitration Award Relief

Those of you steeped in reinsurance know about the honorable engagement clause. It’s a provision found in the arbitration clause of some (mostly older) reinsurance contracts that gives guidance to the arbitration panel on how they should construe the disputed reinsurance contract. I use the term “guidance” loosely here because a typical honorable engagement clause … Continue Reading
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