Titan Maritime appealed a district court’s decision denying its motion to compel arbitration in an action filed by Cape Flattery Limited for gross negligence in the salvage of a vessel owned by Cape Flattery. Titan argued that the district court erred in refusing to apply English arbitrability law and that, even under federal arbitrability law, the dispute should go to arbitration. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed the district court’s denial of the motion to compel arbitration, noting specifically that under the Supreme Court’s reasoning in First Options of Chicago, Inc. v. Kaplan, 514 U.S. 938 (1995), non-federal arbitrability law should apply only if there is clear and unmistakable evidence that the parties intended to apply such non-federal law. Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit held that federal arbitrability law did apply and that under federal law, the dispute was not arbitrable. Cape Flattery Limited v. Titan Maritime, LLC, No. 09-15682 (9th Cir. July 26, 2011).
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Ninth Circuit: English arbitration law does not apply, and dispute not arbitrable under federal law
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