Kindred Nursing Centers: SCOTUS hasn’t soured on arbitration

The Litigation Lobby may despise arbitration that is contractually agreed to before a dispute, editorialists may denounce it, and legal academics may deprecate it, but the U.S. Supreme Court shows no signs of cooperating in plans to snuff it out. In Kindred Nursing Centers Limited Partnership v. Clark, the latest of several cases in which it has state supreme courts that strayed from its guidance, the high court struck down a legal interpretation by the Kentucky courts “under which a general power of attorney, valid to authorize the execution of contracts generally, would not validly authorize execution of an arbitration agreement unless the power of attorney explicitly addressed that topic.” [Ronald Mann, SCOTUSBlog]

For me, the 7-1 vote was the most salient thing about this decision. All of the participating justices agreed except for Justice Clarence Thomas, who could not endorse the outcome based on his longstanding view that the FAA does not apply in state courts. By contrast, the vote last year in the quite similar case of Imburgia was 6-3. Perhaps the justices were motivated here less by their views about the FAA than by their views about the proper response to insincere state supreme courts.

More: Liz Kramer, Arbitration Nation.

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