November 27, 2012
SCOTUS Per Curiam Opinion in Arbitration Case: Nitro-Lift v. Howard
Yesterday the Supreme Court issued a five-page per curiam opinion in Nitro-Lift Technologies L.L.C. v. Howard, granting certiorari and reversing the Oklahoma Supreme Court based on the Federal Arbitration Act. It begins:
State courts rather than federal courts are most frequently called upon to apply the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U. S. C. §1 et seq., including the Act’s national policy favoring arbitration. It is a matter of great importance, therefore, that state supreme courts adhere to a correct interpretation of the legislation. Here, the Oklahoma Supreme Court failed to do so. By declaring the noncompetition agreements in two employment contracts null and void, rather than leaving that determination to the arbitrator in the first instance, the state court ignored a basic tenet of the Act’s substantive arbitration law. The decision must be vacated.