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Guest Blogger Victoria VanBuren Discusses the Role of Federal Arbitration Act Section 10(a)(4) After Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. v. Bacon

May 4th, 2009 Awards, Guest Posts, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit 1 Comment » By Philip J. Loree Jr.

Today we are honored and delighted to feature “Hall Street Meets S. Maestri Place: What Standards of Review will the Fifth Circuit Apply to Arbitration Awards Under FAA Section 10(a)(4) after Citigroup?”, a guest-blog post submitted by Victoria VanBuren, the blogmaster of Disputing, an excellent ADR blog.  We look forward to featuring more of her posts in the future. 

Victoria is an up and coming young attorney who works for Dispute Resolution Expert Karl Bayer.  Based in Austin, Texas, Karl’s team focuses on litigation, arbitration, and mediation of intellectual property, environmental, and health care disputes.  (Learn more about Karl Bayer’s practice here and read Victoria’s bio here.)  Victoria, a graduate of the University of Texas School Of Law, is currently pursuing a degree in computer science, and is a member of several ADR and other legal-services-oriented associations.  Victoria has done a wonderful job keeping Disputing loaded with up-to-date cases, legislation, and relevant articles on matters pertinent to arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution.  Her efforts are particularly impressive when you consider that she graduated from law school only a few years ago, is an active networker and business developer, and is pursuing a computer science degree on top of all of that.  Keep your eyes on this rising star!

Ever since the Fifth Circuit handed down Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. v. Bacon, ___ F.3d ___ (5th Cir. 2009), in which the Court held that manifest disregard of the law is no longer an independent ground for vacatur under the Federal Arbitration Act, we have wondered whether existing Fifth Circuit case law on Federal Arbitration Act Section 10(a)(4) might be flexible enough to permit courts in appropriate cases to vacate awards where the arbitrators’ decision has no colorable basis in the contract or in applicable law, and where there is evidence that the arbitrators knew, but disregarded, controlling contract provisions or unambiguously applicable law.  And assuming that flexibility is not already inherent in the Fifth Circuit’s Section 10(a)(4) jurisprudence, we have wondered to what extent, if at all, is the Fifth Circuit likely to expand its interpretation of Section 10(a)(4) to provide itself and the district courts under it with a safety valve of sorts for addressing unusual situations of this type.  

Victoria’s post addresses these questions, so read on.  .  .  .

         

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