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Third Circuit Holds That a Court, Not an Arbitrator, Must Decide Whether an Arbitration Agreement Authorizes Class-wide Arbitration

On August 5, 2014 by Schnader

Who decides whether an arbitration agreement allows for class-wide arbitration – a court or an arbitrator? In the wake of mixed signals from the U.S. Supreme Court, lower courts have been reluctant to answer this question. However, on July 30, 2014, in Opalinski v. Robert Half International, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit became the second federal court of appeals to definitively hold that the availability of class-wide arbitration is a threshold question for the court, not a subsidiary question for the arbitrator.

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