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Law School Case Brief

Hall St. Assocs., L.L.C. v. Mattel, Inc. - 552 U.S. 576, 128 S. Ct. 1396 (2008)


Under the ejusdem generis rule, when a statute sets out a series of specific items ending with a general term, that general term is confined to covering subjects comparable to the specifics it follows.


Petitioner landlord sued defendant tenant, alleging that the tenant had to indemnify the landlord for the costs of cleaning up a pollutant. The parties submitted to arbitration the indemnification issue. Certiorari was granted to resolve a split in the circuits as to whether the grounds for vacatur and modification provided by 9 U.S.C.S. §§ 10 and 11 were exclusive.


Is general review allowed for an arbitrator’s legal errors?




Under the ejusdem generis rule, 9 U.S.C.S. § 9, which had no textual hook for expanding judicial review, did not authorize contracting parties to supplement review for specific instances of outrageous conduct with review for just any legal error. Rather, 9 U.S.C.S. §§ 10 and 11 provided exclusive regimes for the review provided by the FAA. Although the lower court properly held that the FAA confined its expedited judicial review to the grounds listed in 9 U.S.C.S. §§ 10 and 11, a remand was appropriate to consider further argument as to whether the arbitration agreement should have been treated as an exercise of the district court's authority to manage its cases under Fed. R. Civ. P. 16.


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