The Third Circuit recently ruled that a Pennsylvania statute prohibiting an unregistered businesses from maintaining any “action or proceeding” in any court in the state interferes with the enforcement of arbitration awards and therefore is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act. The plaintiff was a non-registered company, but the parties had agreed that the arbitration could proceed and be administered under the rules of the American Arbitration Association. The district court confirmed the arbitration award, and the Third Circuit affirmed, holding that the FAA preempted application of the law because it rendered the arbitration agreement unenforceable, noting that the intent of Congress in enacting the FAA was to promote arbitration. Therefore, the Pennsylvania statute, by barring any “action or proceeding,” interfered with the enforceability of the FAA and therefore was preempted.

The issue of state statutes interfering with the enforcement of arbitration awards has been a subject of Reinsurance Focus blogs numerous times. Particularly, courts have examined state statutes that require the posting of security before a non-admitted company may file suit in that state. We will continue to monitor case law addressing whether other courts find that the FAA pre-empts similar pre-pleading security statutes.

Generational Equity LLC v. Schomaker, No. 14-1291 (3d Cir. Feb. 23, 2015).