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Friday, July 09, 2004

Rules? What rules? Regina Jacobs is a world-class track athlete, who may very well compete in the Olympics next month. However, the United States Anti-Doping Agency has accused her of using a prohibited substance and has threatened to sanction her, which may result in her not competing in Greece. She, not surprisingly, took issue with that and demanded arbitration before the American Arbitration Association. So here's the issue. Both parties have agreed to arbitrate -- but they can't agree on whether the AAA's Commercial Rules or Supplementary Rules apply. Both agree that an arbitrator can make that decision, but the rules differ in how an arbitrator is chosen. The AAA has decided that the Supplementary Rules apply and that an arbitrator should be chosen under those rules. Jacobs brought an action, seeking to compel arbitration under the Commercial Rules. The District Court held that it lacked jurisdiction and the Second Circuit agreed. An action to compel arbitration may only be brought if the other party refuses to arbitrate. Since the Agency was willing to arbitrate and the only dispute was the rules, the court had no jurisdiction. The decision in Jacobas v. USA Track and Field can be found here.

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