The Second Circuit has affirmed an order compelling arbitration and a judgment confirming a final arbitration award. Plaintiff-appellant appealed the order on the basis that the arbitration agreement required arbitration only of his individual claim, but permitted his class claim to be heard in court. The appellant contended that because claims may not be arbitrated as class actions under the rules of the NYSE and the NASD (incorporated by reference in the Settlement Agreement), the parties must have intended any class claims to be litigated in the courts.
Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Green Tree Financial v. Bazzle, the Second Circuit found that whether an arbitration contract forbids class arbitration falls under the domain of arbitrators, and therefore the district court properly compelled arbitration on the question of the arbitrability of class claims under the Settlement Agreement. The Court also rejected appellant’s claim that the arbitration decision should not have been confirmed because the arbitrators: (1) acted with a lack of fundamental rationality; (2) exceeded the scope of their authority; and (3) acted with manifest disregarded of the law. Vaughn v. Leeds, Morelli & Brown, No. 07-5637 (2d Cir. Mar. 16, 2009).