A Compelling Case for Streamlining Venue of Actions To Enjoin Arbitration

As arbitration, rather than litigation in court, grows as a favored forum for dispute resolution, the role of federal courts in guiding parties toward arbitration has increased in importance. Federal courts are regularly asked to intervene to compel arbitration or to enjoin arbitration from proceeding. A circuit split has developed regarding whether federal courts have the power to compel arbitrations in districts outside their own, stemming from § 4 of the Federal Arbitration Act’s conflicting permissive versus mandatory venue provisions. There are likewise conflicting opinions regarding whether a federal court can enjoin an arbitration pending in another district. This Article explores the disparate decisions on these issues, arguing that venue for an action to enjoin arbitration should be limited to the district where arbitration is pending in order to promote judicial efficiency, to prevent forum shopping, to avoid inconsistent rulings, and to funnel parties quickly to arbitration.