In the recent unpublished opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit confirmed that if an issue is voluntarily submitted to an arbitrator, then the arbitrator can decide the issue, even if it is one that should have been left to the court. After the arbitrator found for the defendant, Heritage Actions, on the basis that there was no meetings of the minds and therefore the contract was unenforceable and should be rescinded, the plaintiffs, OMG, L.P. and Greg Martin, attempted to have the award vacated in federal district court. The district court agreed with OMG and vacated the award on the basis that “a court was the proper decision-maker as to the contract formation issues in this case, not the arbitrator.” The Fifth Circuit reversed, pointing out that if the parties agree, they may arbitrate issues that are not part of the arbitration agreement. While OMG argued that the issue of the contract’s validity had not been submitted to the arbitrator either by the arbitration contract or by agreement, the Fifth Circuit found that both parties actively put forth arguments during the arbitration on whether there had been a meeting of the minds and whether the contracts should be rescinded. At no time during the arbitration did OMG argue that the arbitrator did not have the authority to decide this issue. The remedy OMG should have sought, said the Fifth Circuit, was to have “refused to arbitrate, leaving a court to decide whether the arbitrator could decide the contract formation issue,” i.e., whether there was a meeting of the minds. The district court’s judgment was reversed and the case remanded with instructions to confirm the arbitration award.OMG, L.P. v. Heritage Actions, Inc., No. 14-10403 (5th Cir. May 8, 2015).