On May 23, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Coinbase, Inc. v. Suski et al., unanimously affirming the Ninth Circuit’s decision holding that when parties have agreed to two contracts — one sending arbitrability disputes to arbitration, and the other sending arbitrability disputes to the courts — a court must decide which contract governs. The decision teaches a cautionary lesson that parties with multiple contracts between them must keep issues of arbitrability consistent between the contracts.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Smith v. Spizzirri holding that § 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires district courts to issue an order staying a federal case pending the outcome of arbitration, rather than dismiss the case when a motion to compel arbitration is granted. This decision resolves a circuit split where previously the Second, Third, Sixth, Seventh, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits had held that the plain text of § 3 mandates a stay of the proceedings whereas the First, Fifth, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits had held that district courts have the discretion to dismiss the proceedings if the entire dispute was subject to arbitration.

On May 2, JAMS announced its new Mass Arbitration Procedures and Guidelines and Mass Arbitration Procedures Fee Schedule (together, the Procedures), with the express goal to “facilitate the fair, expeditious and efficient resolution of Mass Arbitrations” and implicit intent to reduce the administrative burden and onerous fees of mass arbitrations, as well as the delay and potential unfairness to the parties. While effective immediately, the Procedures only apply if the parties have agreed to their application in a pre- or post-dispute written agreement. This limitation significantly decreases the effectiveness of the Procedures as a tool for hedging risks and limiting the high costs of mass arbitration.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently reversed a district court’s ruling, which had denied a motion to compel arbitration of Opportunity Financial (OppFi) on the basis that the arbitration clause was substantively unconscionable due to the choice of law provision in the loan agreement containing the arbitration clause. The Ninth Circuit vacated the decision and directed the district court to refer the matter to arbitration.

On January 15, the American Arbitration Association (AAA) issued amended Mass Arbitration Supplementary Rules and new Consumer Mass Arbitration and Mediation Fee Schedules (collectively, the New Rules). The New Rules will apply to all mass arbitration cases filed on or after January 15, but not to any mass arbitrations filed prior to that date. The New Rules aim to reduce friction and enhance process efficiency. However, unless the New Rules are supplemented by a well-constructed pre-dispute arbitration agreement, they will not solve the principal problems posed by mass arbitrations.

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari in Smith v. Spizzirri, which presents the question of whether § 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires district courts to issue a stay pending arbitration or allows courts the discretion to dismiss the suit when all claims are subject to arbitration.

In response to a petition filed last week by a number of consumer advocacy groups, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) announced that it will be seeking public input on a possible rule that would curtail mandatory pre-dispute arbitration provisions.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Coinbase, Inc. v. Bielski, holding that a district court must stay its proceedings while an interlocutory appeal on the question of arbitrability is pending. The decision resolves a circuit split on the question of whether such a stay is mandatory or discretionary. Justice Kavanaugh

Mindful of the impending retirement of many millions of investors in the “baby boomer” generation, which hold a substantial amount of the world’s wealth, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) continues to heavily monitor its member firms supervision of their registered financial advisors who service vulnerable and elderly investor customers. For example, last month FINRA

As any Wall Street litigator knows, in the securities industry, it is typical for brokerage firms to incentivize their employed financial advisers with significant upfront compensation at the beginning of a relationship or even at the beginning of each new financial year. These up-front payments are often structured as “forgivable loans” and memorialized in promissory