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Court Of Chancery Explains Equitable Remedy Carve Out

Posted In Arbitration

GTSI Corp. v. Eyak Technology LLC, C.A. 5815-VCL (November 15, 2010)

There seems to be one constant issue in decisions dealing with motions to stay court proceedings in favor of arbitration -- who decides if the claims are subject to arbitration, the court or the arbitrators.  Under Delaware law, absent an express provision directly dealing with that question, a reference in the parties' agreement to arbitration rules that provided the arbitrator decides that issue will be upheld.

Sometime litigants try to get around that result by pointing to provisions in their agreement that leave certain disputes to the courts to decide and then argue the claims in dispute fall within that exception.  One such frequent carve out is the Equitable Remedy Provision.  That sort of provision permits a court to grant an injunction to avoid harm while the dispute is in arbitration.  This decision holds that carve out does not swallow the whole, at least in this case.  As a result, the court granted the stay.