In a closely watched decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently determined that an order of the International Trade Commission ("ITC") terminating an investigation on the basis of an arbitration agreement is an appealable final determination under 19 U.S.C. § 1337(c). As a result of this case, the federal circuit now has jurisdiction over appeals based on determinations of the ITC to terminate investigations due to pre-existing arbitration agreements.
In yet another example of the great deference accorded to arbitral decisions by U.S. Federal Courts, the Fifth Circuit recently declined to vacate or modify an award based on allegations of arbitrator misconduct. Despite intimations that the conduct of the opposing party and the arbitrator may have led to a reversal had it occurred in the district court, the Fifth Circuit cited the bedrock principle that, due to a "strong federal policy favoring arbitration," judicial review of arbitration awards is "extremely narrow," and refused to vacate the award.