Law360 Quoted Ryan Baker About SCOTUS Decision

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that federal courts must honor a request to stay a case after ordering the dispute into arbitration. In a six-page opinion authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor not even a month after hearing oral argument in Smith v. Spizzirri , the high court relied on a textual interpretation of federal arbitration law to conclude that the Ninth Circuit was wrong to find that federal courts have discretion to dismiss after compelling arbitration, thereby allowing the losing party to appeal the decision.

The relevant statute, Section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act, says a trial court referring a case to arbitration “shall on application of one of the parties stay the trial of the action until such arbitration has been had.”

Ryan Baker gave his reaction to Law360, “In a lot of these cases, what the Supreme Court is saying is, ‘Look, all you litigants out there who don’t like this. The remedy here is to petition Congress to amend the FAA ... The word “shall” means what it says.’”

The justices rejected an argument from the respondents in the case, on-demand delivery service IntelliQuick, that the word “stay” only meant that the court was obligated to stop parallel in-court litigation, which it could also do by dismissing the litigation.

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