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Can you appeal denial of arbitration by a La. state court?

Here’s an interesting issue that I came across today. The Federal Arbitration Act includes a provision allowing an immediate appeal of an order refusing to enforce an arbitration clause. See 9 U.S.C. § 16(a)(1). But suppose that a case governed by the FAA is in a Louisiana state court. Under La. Code Civ. P. art. 2083, an interlocutory judgment cannot be appealed unless an appeal is “expressly provided by law.” Is a Louisiana trial court’s order denying arbitration appealable to a Louisiana court of appeal. In at least two circuits (the Fourth and the Fifth), the answer is “no.” Despite the FAA, a party to a Louisiana case seeking appellate review of an order denying arbitration must apply for a supervisory writ. See Saavedra v. Dealmaker Developments, 2008-1239 (La. App. 4 Cir. 3/18/09), 8 So. 3d 758, 761–62; and Allen v. Valero Energy Corp., 06-726, pp. 3–4 (La. App. 5 Cir. 1/9/07), 951 So. 2d 370, 371–72.

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Mark D. Plaisance

Without directly addressing this issue, the Louisiana Supreme Court seemed to adopt a third circuit ruling recognizing a judgment denying a request for arbitration is an appealable, interlocutory order. Aguillard v. Auction Management Corp. 2004-2804, n. 5 (La. 6/29/05), 908 So.2d 1.

Ray

Aguillard was before the effective date of the most recent amendment of La. C.C.P. art. 2083 (effective January 1, 2006). Under the prior version of art. 2083, an interlocutory judgment that caused irreparable injury was immediately appealable. But Aguillard is still useful, as irreparable injury is an argument for the court of appeal to exercise its supervisory jurisdiction to decide the merits of a writ application.

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