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Commonwealth Coatings Corp. v. Continental Casualty Co.
United States Supreme Court
393 U.S. 145, 89 S. Ct. 337, 21 L. Ed. 2d 301 (1968)
Commonwealth Coating Corporation (Commonwealth) (plaintiff) entered into an agreement with a contractor for a painting job. The agreement contained an arbitration provision governing all disputes related to the agreement. A dispute arose between the parties, and Commonwealth sued to recover unpaid fees. The dispute went to arbitration, and the arbitrators were selected based on the agreement’s terms. Commonwealth selected one arbitrator, the contractor selected a second arbitrator, and both parties selected the third arbitrator, who was intended to be neutral. Unbeknownst to Commonwealth, the contractor was a regular customer of the third arbitrator’s engineering-consulting business. The contractor’s patronage was frequent and significant, and the third arbitrator had rendered services on the disputed projects in the arbitration with Commonwealth. The arbitrator and contractor did not disclose their relationship to Commonwealth until after an award was made. Commonwealth challenged the award in federal district court, but the district court refused to vacate the award. Commonwealth appealed, and the appellate court affirmed the district court’s decision. Commonwealth appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)
Concurrence (White, J.)
Dissent (Fortas, J.)
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