On August 26, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether a trial court had appointment authority under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). Overturning a prior order that denied Odyssey Reinsurance Company’s (Odyssey) motion to appoint, the Second Circuit found that the trial court not only had the authority to appoint an arbitration umpire but “the obligation to appoint an umpire to correct a breakdown in the umpire selection process.”

The trial court found that it did not need to intervene in a dispute over worker’s compensation billings. The Second Circuit Court disagreed, finding the parties deadlocked as to the interpretation of various terms in the arbitration agreement concerning umpire qualifications. This “lapse” therefore necessitated the trial court to appoint an arbitration umpire.

Odyssey Reinsurance Co. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London Syndicate 53, No. 14-2840-cv (2nd Cir. Aug. 26, 2015)