SCOTUS Grants Certiorari in Suski
Posted on Categories Arbitration Agreements, Arbitrators, Fed Arbitration Act, SCOTUSTags , , , ,

By George H. Friedman, SAA Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

The Supreme Court has granted Certiorari in another arbitration-related case.

Coinbase v. Suski, No. 23-3, was one of the  arbitration-centric cases at SCOTUS referenced in SAA 2023-36 (Sep. 21) and in our recent blog post, First Monday in October Coming Soon: Some Arbitration-Centric Cases Worth Following.

Past Reporting

We reported as follows:

Recall that we reported in SAA 2023-25 (Jun. 29) and blogged on June 23 that the Supreme Court had decided Coinbase, Inc. v. Bielski, No. 22-105, ruling mostly along ideological lines that courts must stay underlying litigation while an appeal of a denial of a motion to compel arbitration is pending. The 5-4 decision, which was released on June 23, was authored by Justice Kavanaugh. He was joined outright by Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Alito, Barrett, and Gorsuch. Justice Jackson wrote a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Kagan and Sotomayor joined in full, and in which Justice Thomas joined for the most part. Buried in a footnote was this landmine: “The Court’s judgment today pertains to respondent Abraham Bielski. The writ of certiorari as to respondents David Suski et al. is dismissed as improvidently granted.”

New Petition

We further reported:

Back with a June 23 Certiorari Petition are the Suski parties, who raise this issue: “Whether, where parties enter into an arbitration agreement with a delegation clause, an arbitrator or a court should decide whether that arbitration agreement is narrowed by a later contract that is silent as to arbitration and delegation.” 

Stealth Cert. Grant

The Court typically announces grants and denials in its weekly Order Lists, which are usually released on Tuesdays. Not so here. In a three-item Miscellaneous Order released Friday, November 3, SCOTUS grants Certiorari in Suski. As usual, there’s no explanation.

Second this Term

As reported in SAA 2023-38 (Oct. 5), the Court granted Certiorari in Bissonnette v. LePage Bakeries Park St. LLC, No. 23-51, where the July 17 Petition states:

“The Federal Arbitration Act exempts the ‘contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.’ 9 U.S.C. § 1. The First and Seventh Circuits have held that this exemption applies to any member of a class of workers that is engaged in foreign or interstate commerce in the same way as seamen and railroad employees—that is, any worker ‘actively engaged’ in the interstate transportation of goods. The Second and Eleventh Circuits have added an additional requirement: The worker’s employer must also be in the ‘transportation industry.’ The question presented is: To be exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act, must a class of workers that is actively engaged in interstate transportation also be employed by a company in the transportation industry?”

(ed: We’re not surprised.)