In the News

Chris Kratovil Lends Perspective to NPR Story on U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Merchants’ Rights to Bring Class Action Claims in Arbitration Courts

Says Decision is “Hardly Surprising” Absent Contrary Congressional Command

June 21, 2013

Christopher D. Kratovil, Dallas-based member of the Firm’s Litigation Department and a recognized authority on the law of arbitration and appellate procedure, was asked to offer his insights to a story—reported by National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg on the NPR news program, “All Things Considered”—on significant rulings issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in the final days of its 2012-13 term.

Kratovil commented on a newly issued opinion, American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, in which the Supreme Court ruled against retail merchants having the right to band together in a class action to challenge what they believe to be the monopolistic practices of the dominant charge card provider. Kratovil noted that this decision, “is hardly surprising, as the court has long held that arbitration agreements are contractual in nature and that, as such, their terms will be rigorously enforced absent a contrary congressional command.”

Observing that since no federal law mandates “that arbitration must be inexpensive or that class action-type procedures must be available in arbitration,” the Supreme Court—with this decision—merely reinforced the idea that “parties get what they contracted for in their arbitration agreement: nothing more and nothing less.”