The U.S. Supreme Court held in its opinion filed on January 8, 2019: “Under the Federal Arbitration Act, parties to a contract may agree that an arbitrator rather than a court will resolve disputes arising out of the contract. When a dispute arises, the parties sometimes may disagree not only about the merits of the dispute but also about the threshold arbitrability question—that is, whether their arbitration agreement applies to the particular dispute. Who decides that threshold arbitrability question? Under the Act and this Court’s cases, the question of who decides arbitrability is itself a question of contract. The Act allows parties to agree by contract that an arbitrator, rather than a court, will resolve threshold arbitrability questions as well as underlying merits disputes.”
“Wholly Groundless” Exception
The U.S. Supreme Court stated: “Even when a contract delegates the arbitrability question to an arbitrator, some federal courts nonetheless will short-circuit the process and decide the arbitrability question themselves if the argument that the arbitration agreement applies to the particular dispute is “wholly groundless.” The question presented in this case is whether the “wholly groundless” exception is consistent with the Federal Arbitration Act. We conclude that it is not. The Act does not contain a “wholly groundless” exception, and we are not at liberty to rewrite the statute passed by Congress and signed by the President. When the parties’ contract delegates the arbitrability question to an arbitrator, the courts must respect the parties’ decision as embodied in the contract.”
The U.S. Supreme Court stated: “This Court has consistently held that parties may delegate threshold arbitrability questions to the arbitrator, so long as the parties’ agreement does so by “clear and unmistakable” evidence … [t]o be sure, before referring a dispute to an arbitrator, the court determines whether a valid arbitration agreement exists. See 9 U. S. C. §2. But if a valid agreement exists, and if the agreement delegates the arbitrability issue to an arbitrator, a court may not decide the arbitrability issue.”
The U.S. Supreme Court further stated: “When the parties’ contract assigns a matter to arbitration, a court may not resolve the merits of the dispute even if the court thinks that a party’s claim on the merits is frivolous. AT&T Technologies, 475 U. S., at 649−650. So, too, with arbitrability.”
The U.S. Supreme Court held: “we reject the “wholly groundless” exception. The exception is inconsistent with the statutory text and with our precedent. It confuses the question of who decides arbitrability with the separate question of who prevails on arbitrability. When the parties’ contract delegates the arbitrability question to an arbitrator, the courts must respect the parties’ decision as embodied in the contract.”
Source Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer & White Sales, Inc., 586 U. S. ____ (2019).
Arbitration agreements are often incorporated into nursing home admission documents, leading to litigation involving whether the claims of a subsequently injured nursing home resident are subject to arbitration. There are often defenses available when nursing homes seek to compel arbitration of nursing home personal injury claims.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in the United States due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, nursing home under-staffing, or the nursing home failing to properly care for a vulnerable adult, you should promptly find a nursing home claim lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf or behalf of your loved one, if appropriate.
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