Press Release

Haynes Boone Secures Unanimous Supreme Court Victory Establishing Key Rules Under Federal Arbitration Act

May 16, 2024
In a unanimous ruling, the United States Supreme Court sided with Haynes and Boone, LLP in a case that provides important clarity on how federal courts should handle countless arbitration cases across the country.

The case centers around the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and stems from a suit by delivery drivers who alleged IntelliQuick Delivery Inc. misclassified them as independent contractors to avoid paying minimum wage, overtime, expense reimbursement and sick leave required by federal and Arizona laws. When the drivers requested a stay pending arbitration, the district court dismissed their case under binding Ninth Circuit precedent. In Thursday’s decision the Supreme Court rejected the Ninth Circuit’s approach, confirming that federal courts cannot dismiss suits sent to arbitration when a party requests a stay.
The Supreme Court’s ruling, authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, embraced the core arguments of Haynes Boone's appellate team led by U.S. Supreme Court Practice Chair Daniel L. Geyser. As the court confirmed, Section 3's language, requiring courts to "stay the trial of the action" pending arbitration, leaves no room for dismissal.

“Today’s decision establishes the proper way for federal courts to handle arbitration cases across the country,” Geyser said. “It secures a necessary backstop that protects litigant rights if an arbitration falls through. It prevents premature appeals that undermine the FAA’s scheme. It protects the ability of federal courts to seamlessly facilitate the underlying arbitration, and it advances the core purposes of the FAA itself: eliminating waste, avoiding unnecessary litigation, and sending parties to arbitration as quickly as possible.”

Geyser continued: “The Court’s decision is short, sweet, and exactly right. We are gratified the Court saw the issues our way, and we are thrilled for our clients—who are now positioned to obtain a long-awaited adjudication of their claims.”

Haynes Boone Associates Angela Oliver and Chance Fletcher joined Geyser on the appellate team, working together with Lubin & Enoch, P.C. Geyser is among a select group of accomplished lawyers who regularly handle significant disputes in the U.S. Supreme Court. This was his 17th argument before the Supreme Court and his sixth since joining the firm in late 2021. His appearances rank tied for fourth among all private-firm lawyers nationwide since the 2016 October term, according to a website tracking Supreme Court statistics.