The U.S. Supreme Court upheld small business owners’ rights to favor arbitration over costly litigation in their disputes. The decision, handed down in the case of Coinbase Inc. v. Abraham Bielski, affirms that arbitration can be a preferable alternative to litigation, which can often drain small businesses of valuable time and financial resources.
The case focused on arbitration cases under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), which stipulates that parties to a contractual arbitration agreement do not forfeit that right while appealing a district court’s refusal to compel arbitration. The Supreme Court’s ruling is a firm endorsement of the FAA, pausing legal proceedings until the question of arbitrability is resolved. This serves to safeguard small business owners from the onerous burdens of litigation.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a major small business advocacy group, joined an amicus brief in the case. According to Beth Milito, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center, the financial burden of a lawsuit can be catastrophic for small businesses, many of which lack in-house attorneys or the resources to commit to a trial. “This is why arbitration is so important,” Milito remarked, adding that “the Supreme Court’s ruling today will protect small businesses from costly litigation when the case will be better resolved outside of a courtroom.”
The decision highlights the power of arbitration in resolving disputes, a more streamlined and cost-effective solution than traditional litigation. For small business owners, who often operate under financial and time constraints, the right to arbitration offers a protective barrier against the potentially devastating impacts of protracted legal battles.
In this case, the NFIB Small Business Legal Center’s involvement underscores its commitment to advocating for the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. Currently, the NFIB is active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and the U.S. Supreme Court.
This landmark decision reminds small businesses of the significance of including arbitration clauses in their contracts. This strategy could potentially save them from costly and drawn-out courtroom battles. The ruling also underscores the importance of staying informed about legal developments impacting their operations and bottom lines.