Tom Swoboda


This Note addresses a recent Eighth Circuit decision concerning the issue of whether or not to compel arbitration between a non-signatory plaintiff and a defendant who desires to arbitrate the plaintiff's claims.' After examining a recent Supreme Court decision in which the Court articulated certain principles of state contract law that allow a court to compel arbitration by or against nonparties to a contract, this Note will explore precedent in Missouri that demonstrates a stringent process in order to compel non-signatories to arbitration. The various federal circuit court treatments of this commonly litigated issue and its underlying split on the topic will also be addressed, as the issue is one typically decided based on the circumstances of the particular case. Based on the facts of the case, this Note will argue that the Eighth Circuit sensibly did not compel arbitration because the circumstances did not support any particular state contract law theory. Also, this Note will address the most practical way to compel arbitration against a nonsignatory and the negative implications that could ensue if courts freely compel arbitration by or against non-signatories without proper procedure between contracting parties.



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