McCormick v. Am. Online Inc. (P)

The Federal Arbitration Act does not itself provide an independent jurisdictional basis for disputes arising under it. While jurisdiction over a petition to compel arbitration under the Act’ § 4 is determined by the nature of the underlying dispute, the statutory language supporting that conclusion is absent from § 10 and § 11, and circuit courts are split as to how such jurisdiction over § 10 and § 11 motions is to be determined. This court concludes that the best approach is to look to the nature of the underlying claim in dispute, just as is done with respect to § 4 petitions.

In this case, the plaintiff, who arbitrated a claim that arose under a federal statute, sought to vacate or modify the arbitration award under the district court’s federal-question and diversity jurisdiction. Under the approach explained here, the district court had federal-question jurisdiction because the plaintiff’s underlying claim arose under federal law.

Vacated and remanded.

McCormick v. Am. Online Inc. (P), No. 17-1542, Nov. 29, 2018. 4th Cir. (Niemeyer) from EDVA at Alexandria (Lee).

Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published

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