A party in Int’l Energy Ventures Mgmnt, LLC v. United Energy Group, Ltd. “recognize[d] the general proposition that litigation-conduct waiver is an issue that should be decided by the court,” but “contend[ed] that the general rule does not apply here for three reasons.” The Fifth Circuit rejected each one:

  • Incorporation of AAA rules. Yes, the parties’ agreement gave the arbitrator “the power to rule on its own jurisdiction,” but it did not “clearly and unmistakably” confer the power to decided litigation-conduct waiver.
  • Waiver. Again, the Court found that activity during the arbitration did not “clearly and unmistakably” result in the “submission” of this issue, noting reservations made by the relevant party and the arbitrator’s own actions.
  • “Unique facts.” The Court did not find key cases inapplicable because of the party who sought arbitration: “‘Arbitration is a matter of contract,’” reasoned the Court, and “[e]xtra-contractual factors–like where an issue first arises and who initiates arbitration–are not part of the interpretive analysis.”

No. 20-20221 (May 28, 2021).

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