Class arbitration in the USA
Produced in partnership with Kevin D. Mohr of King & Spalding LLP and Michael W. Massiatte of DLA Piper (US) LLP
Class arbitration in the USA

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Kevin D. Mohr of King & Spalding LLP and Michael W. Massiatte of DLA Piper (US) LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Class arbitration in the USA
  • What is class action dispute resolution?
  • Evolution of US class action arbitration law

Class arbitration is a form of multiparty dispute resolution that has experienced substantial growth in the United States in recent years. While class litigation has been common in US courts for decades, the extension of the class action mechanism into arbitration is unusual because the representative, quasi-compulsory nature of the class action case is in tension with the consensual basis of arbitration.

That position changed following the US Supreme Court’s confusing and controversial decision in Green Tree Financial Corp v Bazzle 539 US 444 (2003) (Bazzle), which many courts and practitioners interpreted as giving a green light to class arbitration. The years since Bazzle witnessed a significant increase in the commencement of class arbitration cases, leading several of the major arbitral institutions in the US to issue specific rules for the administration of class arbitrations. In the last few years, however, the Supreme Court has decided several more cases that clarify Bazzle, and effectively restrict the availability of class arbitration.

Note: the US judgments referred to in this Practice Note are not reported by LexisNexis® UK.

What is class action dispute resolution?

Although the class action device is by no means unique to the US, it is virtually unknown in some jurisdictions and far from common in many others.

A class action is a mechanism for resolving similar claims held by a