January 2014 – Chaffetz Lindsey has submitted an amicus brief in support of a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States in Walia v. Dewan (4th Cir. Oct. 28, 2013-4th Cir), a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, addressing the “manifest disregard of the law” doctrine. The brief, a joint effort by Chaffetz Lindsey and Professor George Bermann of Columbia Law School, the Chief Reporter for the Restatement (Third) of International Commercial Arbitration, was submitted on behalf of a group of esteemed practitioners and professors of arbitration law. In Walia, the Fourth Circuit vacated an arbitration award issued in a non-domestic arbitration between a US employer and its Canadian employee, based on its finding that the arbitrator had “manifestly disregarded the law” by interpreting the parties’ contract in a manner which the Fourth Circuit viewed as untenable. The Canadian employee petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse the Fourth Circuit decision and, in doing so, resolve the entrenched circuit split over whether manifest disregard is a proper basis for vacatur. The amicus brief urges the Supreme Court to grant certiorari to resolve the deep circuit divide over the proper use of the manifest disregard doctrine and to correct the Fourth Circuit’s overly broad application of the doctrine in this case. The brief stresses the impact manifest disregard has on the United States’ preeminence as a seat for international arbitration.
The team who worked on the brief included David Lindsey, James Hosking, Jennifer Gorskie and Yujing Yue, all of whom are active members of the New York arbitration community. Chaffetz Lindsey is a founding member of the New York International Arbitration Center, which seeks to cement New York City’s role as a leading home for arbitration. Please contact any of them for more information about this case.