(251) 299-0101

Arbitration

Blanks, et al. v. TDS Telecommunications LLC, et al., [Ms. 1180311, Sept. 6, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2019). The Court (Sellers, J.; and Bolin, Wise, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Parker, C.J., and Shaw and Bryan, JJ., concur in the result) reverses and remands a declaratory judgment entered by the Cherokee Circuit Court and directs the parties to proceed to arbitration in a case concerning delivery speeds of internet services.

“The question of who is to decide whether a dispute is arbitrable is one that must necessarily precede the question of whether a dispute is arbitrable.” VRG Linhas Aereas S.A. v. MatlinPatterson Glob. Opportunities Partners II L.P., 717 F. 3d 322, 324 (2d Cir. 2013).

Although questions of arbitrability are typically answered by courts, those questions should be sent to an arbitrator if there is clear and unmistakable evidence that the relevant parties intended an arbitrator to decide the issue of arbitrability. AT&T Techs., Inc. v. Communications Workers of America, 475 U.S. 643, 649 (1986); Eickhoff Corp. v. Warrior Met Coal, LLC, 265 So. 3d 216, 221 (Ala. 2018).

Ms. *7. Moreover, in May 2018, this Court reiterated that:

“even when arbitrability is delegated to an arbitrator, a court should still determine if a dispute is “arguably within the scope of [a] contract [containing an arbitration provision].” Eickhoff Corp. v. Warrior Met Coal, LLC, 265 So. 3d [216] at 224 [(Ala. 2018)].

Id. at *13. The trial court, therefore, erred in declining the customers’ motion to compel arbitration.

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