Friday, March 28, 2008

Amicus Opportunity

Keyhole Imre Szalai (California Western) is organizing an amicus brief of law professors to be filed in Vaden v. Discover Bank, 07-773.  Vaden presents the issue, as described by SCOTUSBlog, of

whether a suit seeking to enforce an arbitration obligation under state law is within the federal court’s jurisdiction, when the attempt to compel arbitration does not directly raise a federal question.  The case involves an attempt by a credit card issuing bank that sought to compel arbitration of a class-action lawsuit in Maryland, growing out of an alleged failure to pay a credit card balance.

The amicus brief will support the "look through" approach, in which federal courts assert jurisdiction by "looking through" the state-law-based motion to compel to an underlying dispute involving federal law.  The contrary approach asserts that the look-through approach is inconsistent with the well-pleaded complaint rule.  The amicus brief will not address the issue of whether jurisdiction exists under the facts of the Vaden case.

For more on this issue, see Imre's article The Federal Arbitration Act and the Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts, 12 Harv. Neg. L. Rev. 319 (2007) and my article (co-authored with Jamie Ireland) Federal Question Jurisdiction and the Federal Arbitration Act (forthcoming Colorado L. Rev).

Anyone interested in helping to draft the brief, or in signing it, should contact Imre.


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