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Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. AnimalFeeds Int’l Corp.

Public Citizen filed an amicus brief in this case arguing that an interim procedural decision in an arbitration (here, whether the agreement allowed class arbitration) was not properly subject to judicial review under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). The majority found the issue ripe for review, sidestepped whether the FAA actually allowed review, and ultimately held that the arbitrators had exceeded their powers by relying on their views of public policy rather than the intent of the contracting parties as reflected in their agreement in holding that class arbitration could occur. Because the parties agreed that the contract was “silent” on that issue, in the sense that the parties had no intent regarding it, the Court held that class arbitration could not proceed.