Supreme Court ruling in Oxford Health Plans v. Sutter allows class arbitration to proceed

June 14, 2013 by

Supreme Court BlogIn Oxford Health Plans v Sutter, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an arbitrator has the power to interpret an arbitration clause and unless the agreement states otherwise, the arbitrator can construe the clause to permit class arbitrations.

The case was brought in state court by a physician who alleged that the health plan had failed to fully and promptly pay him and other physicians.  The health plan moved to compel arbitration which the state court ordered.  The arbitrator then construed the arbitration clause to permit class arbitration.  The health plan then filed in federal court a motion to vacate the arbitration order asserting that the arbitrator exceeded his authority.  The district court denied the motion and the Third Circuit affirmed.  The unanimous Supreme Court ruling holds that arbitrators have the power to construe arbitration clauses as permitting class arbitration.  The decision thus clears the way for cases to proceed as class arbitrations.

Keith Dubanevich
Keith is an accomplished trial, appellate, and healthcare lawyer with over 30 years of experience in more than a dozen different jurisdictions around the country. With a focus on complex dispute resolution, with particular emphasis in the healthcare industry, Keith is adept at handling multi-state and internal antitrust cases, consumer litigation, and securities disputes. In healthcare, he has handled peer review disputes, partnership and incorporation matters, and billing investigations. Keith has led internal investigations for public entities as well as for not-for-profit organizations. Keith's clients value his keen instincts in court and his ability to delve into complex legal issues while never losing sight of the overall strategy of a case. During his time at the Oregon Department of Justice as Associate Attorney General and Chief of Staff, Keith led the creation of a civil rights unit, managed securities litigation including multiple cases against financial services companies, and supervised antitrust investigations and prosecutions. He was also involved with the adoption of legislation that expanded the Unlawful Trade Practices Act and legislation that imposed a mediation requirement prior to non-judicial foreclosures.

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