Justia Arbitration & Mediation Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Gaming Law
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Oklahoma and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (the “Nation”) entered into a Tribal-State gaming compact; Part 12 of which contained a dispute-resolution procedure that called for arbitration of disagreements “arising under” the Compact’s provisions. The terms of the Compact indicated either party could, “[n]otwithstanding any provision of law,” “bring an action against the other in a federal district court for the de novo review of any arbitration award.” In Hall Street Associates, LLC. v. Mattel, Inc., 552 U.S. 576, (2008), the Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) precluded parties to an arbitration agreement from contracting for de novo review of the legal determinations in an arbitration award. At issue before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals was how to treat the Compact’s de novo review provision given the Supreme Court’s decision in Hall Street Associates. The Nation argued the appropriate course was to excise from the Compact the de novo review provision, leaving intact the parties’ binding obligation to engage in arbitration, subject only to limited judicial review under 9 U.S.C. sections 9 and 10. Oklahoma argued the de novo review provision was integral to the parties’ agreement to arbitrate disputes arising under the Compact and, therefore, the Tenth Circuit should sever the entire arbitration provision from the Compact. The Tenth Circuit found the language of the Compact demonstrated that the de novo review provision was a material aspect of the parties’ agreement to arbitrate disputes arising thereunder. Because Hall Street Associates clearly indicated the Compact’s de novo review provision was legally invalid, and because the obligation to arbitrate was contingent on the availability of de novo review, the Tenth Circuit concluded the obligation to arbitrate set out in Compact Part 12 was unenforceable. Thus, the matter was remanded to the district court to enter an order vacating the arbitration award. View "Citizen Potawatomi Nation v. State of Oklahoma" on Justia Law

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This dispute arose out of a video game publishing agreement entered into by Timegate and Gamecock. Under the terms of the agreement, Timegate was to be the developer and Gamecock was to be the publisher of a futuristic military-style video game entitled "Section 8." When their business relationship deteriorated, the parties proceeded with arbitration and the arbitrator awarded Gamecock monetary compensation and a perpetual license in the video game's intellectual property. The district court vacated the arbitrator's award, determining that the perpetual license was not consistent with the "essence" of the underlying contract. Because the agreement bestowed broad remedial powers upon the arbitrator and because it was fraudulently induced and irreversibly violated by Timegate, the perpetual license was a rational and permissible attempt to compensate Gamecock and maintain the agreement's essence. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded, finding that the perpetual license was a remedy that furthered the essence of the publishing agreement. View "TimeGate Studios, Inc. v. Southpeak Interactive, L.L.C., et al" on Justia Law