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Cortez Byrd Chips v. Bill Harbert Construction Co.

529 U.S. 193, 120 S. Ct. 1331, 146 L. Ed. 2d 171 (2000)

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Cortez Byrd Chips v. Bill Harbert Construction Co.

United States Supreme Court

529 U.S. 193, 120 S. Ct. 1331, 146 L. Ed. 2d 171 (2000)

Facts

Cortez Byrd Chips, Inc. (Cortez) (defendant) contracted Bill Harbert Construction Company (Harbert) (plaintiff) to build a wood-chip mill in Mississippi. The contract included an arbitration clause stating that all disputes between the parties would be arbitrated. A dispute arose, and Harbert initiated arbitration proceedings. Arbitration occurred in Alabama, and the arbitration panel issued an award for Harbert. Cortez filed suit in the Southern District of Mississippi, seeking to vacate the award, and Harbert petitioned to confirm the award in the Northern District of Alabama. Cortez moved to dismiss or transfer the Alabama action, but the Alabama district court denied the motion, finding that venue was only proper in the Northern District of Alabama. Cortez appealed to the Eleventh Circuit, which affirmed the Alabama district court’s ruling, finding that under the venue provisions of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), venue was proper only in the district in which the arbitration award was made. The case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which granted certiorari to address the FAA’s venue provisions.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Souter, J.)

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