The Russell v. Citigroup court’s holding is a fairly common-sense decision under its fact scenario. However, reading between the lines reveals that the decision has serious ethical implications for attorneys who craft arbitration agreements. Those who fail to heed the warnings could find their law licenses in jeopardy.
This commentary by TELG principal & general counsel Nicholas Woodfield was published by Westlaw Journal Employment on May 13, 2014. The full article is available as a PDF on our site and at Westlaw Journal Employment.
Comments on the Russell decision by Nicholas Woodfield, principal, The Employment Law Group PC
In Russell v. Citigroup, the 6th Circuit issued a common sense solution to a thorny but unforeseen problem. As the court noted, it iterated that the intent of the parties governed the scope of the contract, and “[i]n the final analysis, that leaves a situation in which one party (Russell) certainly and the other party (Citicorp) likely expected the contract to govern only lawsuits still to come. This common understanding fixes the meaning of the contract.” Hence the arbitration agreement was not applicable to already-filed cases.