Expanded Judicial Review of Arbitration Awards Post Hall Street v. Mattel

Evaluating and Crafting Arbitration Provisions to Preserve Judicial Review Options

Does California's Supreme Court Decision in Cable Connection v. DIRECTV Provide New Alternatives?

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, December 18, 2008

Course Materials


The Supreme Court’s Hall Street decision limits the grounds to vacate an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act to those expressly provided in the Act. Thus, parties can no longer agree that a court may vacate an award if the arbitrator's conclusions of law are found erroneous.

The California Supreme Court recently ruled, however, in Cable Connection that parties can, under the California Arbitration Act, agree to contractually expand judicial review. This ruling may signal state court receptivity to enhanced judicial review of awards under state arbitration acts.

Companies wishing to avoid an anomalous arbitration award have another option under the FAA — review by a panel of arbitrators. Those seeking that extra layer of protection from expanded judicial review should now consider drafting their arbitration agreements under state arbitration acts.

Listen from your telephone as our authoritative panel of attorneys analyzes these contrasting court decisions and discusses best practices for drafting arbitration agreements to maximize the option of expanded judicial review of arbitration awards.



  1. Expanded Judicial Review in Light of Hall Street v. Mattel
    1. FAA statutory and non-statutory (manifest disregard) grounds for review
    2. Pre-Hall Street contractual expansion of grounds for review
    3. Hall Street decision
  2. Arbitration Under State Arbitration Acts
    1. Cable Connection v. DIRECTV decision
    2. Similar rulings, if any
    3. Pros and cons of arbitration under FAA v. state arbitration acts
    4. Drafting arbitration agreements under state acts
  3. Is “Manifest Disregard of the Law” Still a Viable Basis for Seeking Judicial Review?
    1. What did the Hall Street court say in dicta?
    2. What have other courts done since then?
  4. Other Alternatives to Arbitration Under FAA or State Arbitration Law
    1. Party-solicited court order directing parties to arbitrate while maintaining right to review award (as happened in Hall Street)
    2. Appointment of special master under FRCP Rule 53
    3. Review by arbitral appellate panel


The panel reviewed these and other key questions: 

  • Is "manifest disregard of the law" a viable basis for seeking judicial review after Hall Street?
  • Does the Cable Connection ruling provide a state-based end-run around the limits of Hall Street?
  • What are the pros and cons of arbitration under state law as opposed to the FAA?
  • What are best practices for drafting arbitration agreements to maximize the option of expanded judicial review of arbitration awards?


Donald J. Friedman
Donald J. Friedman
Perkins Coie

He is a member in the firm's Litigation practice, where he focuses in the areas of commercial litigation and...  |  Read More

Michael A. Geibelson
Michael A. Geibelson

Robins Kaplan

He represents companies and individuals in complex business litigation matters such as consumer and business fraud,...  |  Read More

Access Anytime, Anywhere

Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Audio