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Stok & Associates v. Citibank  (10-514) 
Whether party claiming waiver of right to arbitrate must demonstrate prejudice  
Dismissed on June 2, 2011 because the parties settled  

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Stok and Citibank had a contract governing their banking relationship, and the contract contained an agreement to arbitrate all disputes. After a dispute arose regarding Citibank's handling of a check, Stok sued in state court alleging a number of state law claims. Citibank filed an answer which made no reference to arbitration. Over the following two weeks, Stok made four filings relevant to its case (offer of judgment, request for production, reply, notice of readiness for trial) and the court set a trial date. Two weeks later Citibank filed a motion to compel arbitration in state court. Another month later Citibank filed a petition to compel arbitration in federal court, which was denied. The 11th Circuit reversed. 

The 11th Circuit reasoned that Citibank's participation in litigation did not result in prejudice to Stok. Citibank delayed for only one month before invoking its right to arbitrate, and Stok could not point to any portion of the record that reveals either the amount of money it spent or the number of hours it dedicated to conducting litigation-specific discovery and preparing litigation-specific documents. 

The US Supreme Court granted certiorari to review the 11th Circuit judgment. The Supreme Court dismissed the case on June 2, 2011 because the parties settled. 

Case below:  Citibank v. Stok & Associates (11th Cir 07/20/2010) 
Official docket sheet 
Certiorari granted: February 22, 2011. Case dismissed June 2, 2011.

Question presented:   

Despite the prevalence of arbitration provisions, parties very frequently elect to waive their contractual right to arbitrate and instead seek to resolve their disputes in a court of law. Because this Court has yet to rule upon when such a waiver becomes binding, a broad and profound conflict has arisen in the Circuit courts as to whether a showing of prejudice is required to render such a waiver irrevocable. Therefore, it is necessary for this Court to answer the following inquiry:

Under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), should a party be required to demonstrate prejudice after the opposing party waived its contractual right to arbitrate by participating in litigation, in order for such waiver to be binding and irrevocable?

Certiorari Documents: 

Briefs on the merits: 

Counsel:

  • For Petitioner: Robert A. Stok; Stok & Associates, P.A.; Turnberry Plaza; 2875 NE 191st Street, Suite 304; Aventura, FL  33180; rstok@stoklaw.com; (305) 935-4440. 
  • For Respondent: John D. Boykin; Casey Ciklin Lubitz Martens & O'Connell; 515 North Flagler Drive, 20th Floor; West Palm Beach, FL  33401; jboykin@caseyciklin.com; (561) 832-5900. 

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