Supreme Court Upholds Arbitrator's Ruling Authorizing Class-Wide Arbitration in Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter, Case No. 12-135 (June 10, 2013)
The Supreme Court has unanimously upheld an arbitrator’s ruling that a contract that required arbitration of “any dispute” constituted an agreement to class-wide arbitration. The Court’s narrow ruling turns on the parties’ express agreement to allow the arbitrator to decide whether their contract, which contained an arbitration provision but did not mention class proceedings, authorized class arbitration. However, the opinion has significant implications for companies desiring to avoid class arbitration—and class actions generally—through provisions in their consumer, business, and employment contracts.