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Manifest’ Destiny: The Fate of the ‘Manifest Disregard of the Law’ Doctrine After Hall Street v. Mattel | Author: Karly A. Kauf

Manifest’ Destiny: The Fate of the ‘Manifest Disregard of the Law’ Doctrine After Hall Street v. Mattel | Author: Karly A. Kauf

The Federal Arbitration Act was enacted in 1925 in reaction to widespread judicial resistance to arbitration. While it is difficult to imagine that the drafters of this legislation could have envisioned how prominent arbitration would become in the United States, it is clear that their intention was to ensure that contracts to arbitrate would be enforced and that the intent of the parties would be maintained. In the more than eighty years since the passage of the Act, courts have repeatedly been called on to interpret the Act in order to determine its effect on real world situations. Recently, the Supreme Court determined that the grounds for vacatur and modification outlined in sections 10 and 11 of the FAA are exclusive. However, the Court failed to explain what effect their holding would have on the longstanding doctrine that allows for modification and vacatur of arbitral awards based on a manifest disregard of the law by the arbitrator. Since then, courts have disagreed about how to move forward, producing a split in the circuits that has become ripe for Supreme Court intervention.

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