June 23, 2023
Decided June 23, 2023
Coinbase, Inc. v. Bielski, No. 22-105
Today, the Supreme Court held 5-4 that appealing the denial of a motion to compel arbitration automatically stays district court proceedings pending resolution of that appeal.
Background: The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) authorizes interlocutory appeals from orders refusing to compel arbitration. 9 U.S.C. § 16(a). The FAA does not expressly address stays pending appeal, and a circuit split developed. The majority position, adopted by the Third, Fourth, Seventh, Tenth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits, held that stays pending appeal are mandatory. The minority position, adopted by the Second, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits, held that the usual, four-factor standard for discretionary stays pending appeal applies.
Bielski brought putative class-action claims against Coinbase in the Northern District of California. Coinbase moved to compel arbitration under its user agreement. After the district court denied Coinbase’s motion, Coinbase appealed and sought a stay pending appeal. The district court declined to stay its proceedings, holding that under Ninth Circuit precedent a stay pending appeal was not mandatory and that a discretionary stay was not warranted. The Ninth Circuit likewise denied a stay.
Issue: Is a stay pending appeal of the denial of a motion to compel arbitration mandatory?
Yes. Appealing the denial of a motion to compel arbitration automatically stays district court proceedings pending resolution of the appeal.
“The sole question before this Court is whether a district court must stay its proceedings while the interlocutory appeal on arbitrability is ongoing. The answer is yes.”
Justice Kavanaugh, writing for the Court
What It Means:
The Court’s opinion is available here.
Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Supreme Court. Please feel free to contact the following practice leaders:
Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice
|Thomas H. Dupree Jr.
|Allyson N. Ho
|Julian W. Poon
|Lucas C. Townsend
|Bradley J. Hamburger
|Brad G. Hubbard
Related Practice: General Litigation
|Veronica S. Moyé
|Helgi C. Walker
Related Practice: International Arbitration
+44 (0) 20 7071 4239
|Penny Madden QC
+44 (0) 20 7071 4226
Related Practice: Labor and Employment
|Jason C. Schwartz
|Katherine V.A. Smith
Related Practice: Class Actions
|Kahn A. Scolnick