Ancillary Arbitration

As part of a complicated battle about arbitrability and arbitrator selection, a district court ruled: “Plaintiff’s claims are dismissed for resolution by arbitration.”  Later, the district court rejected a challenge to the arbitrator selection process.  Adam Technologies Int’l v. Sutherland Global Services, No. 12-10760 (Sept. 5, 2013).  The panel divided over how to apply Kokkonen v. Guardian Life, 511 U.S. 375 (1994), which held that a court lacked ancillary jurisdiction to hear a dispute about the enforcement of a settlement provision in a dismissed action.  The majority reasoned: “The judgment dismissing [plaintiff’s] initial lawsuit operated, in all practical effect, as the functional equivalent of an order compelling arbitration between these parties.  We conclude that ancillary jurisdiction existed to allow the district court later to evaluate whether the dismissal that allowed the dispute to be taken to arbitration was being thwarted.”  The dissent did not read the district court’s ruling as retaining jurisdiction.    

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