Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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The First Circuit answered two questions of first impression regarding the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) by holding (1) in a case where a federal district court is confronted with a motion to compel arbitration under the FAA and the parties have delegated questions of arbitrability to the arbitrator, the applicability of the FAA is a threshold question for the court to determine before compelling arbitration under the FAA; and (2) a provision of the FAA that exempts contracts of employment of transportation workers from the FAA’s coverage applies to a transportation-worker agreement that purports to establish an independent-contractor relationship. Accordingly, the First Circuit affirmed the district court’s order denying the motion to compel arbitration and dismissed this appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction. View "Oliveira v. New Prime, Inc." on Justia Law

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This appeal concerned a dispute between employees represented by a Union and their successor employer. The parties agreed to arbitrate this dispute regarding change in the terms of pension provision in a collective bargaining agreement. The district court refused to compel arbitration on the grounds that ERISA preempted the Union’s claims, and this, in turn, presented an issue of arbitrability properly decided by a judge, not an arbitrator. The First Circuit vacated the order of the district court and remanded with instructions to grant the Union’s motion to compel arbitration, holding that the issue of ERISA preemption in this case was not an issue of arbitrability but, rather, one that was squarely for the arbitrator to decide. View "Prime Healthcare Services - Landmark LLC v. United Nurses & Allied Professionals, Local 5067" on Justia Law

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Appellants sought arbitration with BBVA Securities of Puerto Rico, Inc. and one of its securities brokers, asserting several claims under both federal and Puerto Rico law. An arbitration panel issued an award denying Appellants’ claims. Appellants then filed a complaint in the Puerto Rico Court of First Instance requesting that the court vacate or modify the arbitration award, seeking relief under the Puerto Rico Arbitration Act. Defendants removed the case to the U.S. District Court of the District of Puerto Rico, arguing that the district court had federal question jurisdiction and also had supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. Appellants moved to remand the case to Puerto Rico state court for lack of jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion after applying the look-through approach and determining that the underlying statement of claim alleged federal claims. The district court subsequently confirmed the award. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the look-through approach was the correct test in this case; (2) federal jurisdiction existed; and (3) the district court did not err in refusing to vacate the award and in confirming it. View "Ortiz-Espinosa v. BBVA Securities of Puerto Rico, Inc." on Justia Law