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John Hancock Life Ins. Co. v. Patten

Close Date: 10/16/2006
Topic(s): Arbitration
Court Procedure, Federal Jurisdiction, and Appellate Jurisdiction
Workers' Rights
Status: closed
Date Of Involvement: 07/12/2006
Docket: 06-49

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Description:

IThis case raised questions about the extent to which courts can review arbitration decisions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had held that an arbitrator “manifestly disregarded the law” when he dismissed the plaintiff’s wrongful-termination and employment-discrimination claims because he thought that the arbitration contained a time limit for bringing such claims, when it clearly did not. The defendant company asked the Supreme Court to take the case, arguing that arbitration awards should not be overturned when an arbitrator deliberately ignores the law, even though the courts of appeals have allowed such review of arbitration awards for half a century. Public Citizen attorneys Scott Nelson and Deepak Gupta successfully opposed the company’s effort to seek Supreme Court review.