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Appeals Regarding Arbitration

In arbitration, parties to a dispute refer their dispute to one or more persons, by whose decision they agree to be bound.  Arbitration may be required by a provision in a contract for settling disputes, or may be provided for by relevant statute.  A court order confirming an award made by an arbitrator is an appealable order.[i] Decision of a court ordering parties to submit to arbitration in compliance with arbitration agreement is a final termination of a special proceeding and is appealable.  A decision denying a motion to compel arbitration is also a final order and is appealable.  An interlocutory order denying arbitration involves a decision on a substantial right.  Where there are several causes of action and the court decides that one of the causes of action fails and orders the parties to arbitrate the remaining claim, the order is a final order if it does not preclude the parties from bringing a new action after completing arbitration.

However, an order compelling arbitration in an embedded proceeding is a non-appealable interlocutory order, even when all the claims in which the arbitration issue is embedded are resolved by that order.  An order compelling arbitration will not resolve the merits of the claims sent to arbitration.[ii] An order dismissing a former employee’s civil rights action and compelling the employee to arbitrate his or her claims in accordance with an arbitration clause in an employment agreement is a final decision.  An appeal will lie from such an order, although the court retains jurisdiction to decide on other issues.

According to the Federal Arbitration Act[iii] an appeal may be taken from a final decision with respect to an arbitration.  A final decision is one that ends the litigation on merits and leaves nothing more to the court, other than execution.  Moreover, the Federal Arbitration Act permits parties to arbitration agreements to bring a separate proceeding in a district court to enter judgment on an arbitration award once it is made to vacate or modify it.[iv]

[i]State ex rel. Gaines Constr. Co. v. Pearson, 154 So. 2d 833 (Fla. 1963)

[ii]American Casualty Co. v. L-J, Inc., 35 F.3d 133 (4th Cir. S.C. 1994)

[iii] 9 USCS § 16

[iv]Green Tree Fin. Corporation-Alabama v. Randolph, 531 U.S. 79 (U.S. 2000)

Inside Appeals Regarding Arbitration