Another piece of the Federal Arbitration Act policy puzzle
The Supreme Court ruled in Mastrobuono v. Shearson Lehman Hutton, Inc. that a securities trading account agreement's choice-of-law and arbitration clauses should be interpreted to allow the arbitrator to award punitive damages. Shearson argued that New York laws which restrict punitive damage awards should control because the choice-of-law clause required that New York law was to be applied. The Court interpreted the agreement to be consistent with the Federal Arbitration Act and construed ambiguities against the drafter to find that punitive damages could be awarded.
Publication Name: Delaware Journal of Corporate Law
'BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore': constitutional challenges to excessive punitive damage awards
The US Supreme Court narrowly decided to interpret the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments as limiting excessive punitive damage awards. In their 1996 5-4 BMW of North America v. Gore decision, the Court supported the right to be free from excessive awards in cases where only property has been damaged or involving unintentional conduct. Justices dissenting with the majority expressed concern over the Court's possible interference with a state judicial domain.
Publication Name: Federation of Insurance & Corporate Counsel Quarterly
Developments in employment arbitration
A survey of 80 employers who initiated pre-dispute arbitration plans for unrepresented employees reveals wide patterns of procedures and claim types covered. Pre-dispute arbitration plans were instituted in response to the US Supreme Court's Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Corp decision, which validated a signed arbitration agreement. A major criticism of such plans is that they coerce employees into abiding by one form of justice.
Publication Name: Dispute Resolution Journal
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