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Can Arbitration Be Used for ERISA Claims?

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Can Arbitration Be Used for ERISA Claims?

Can Arbitration Be Used for ERISA Claims?

Arbitration is often used to maintain secrecy and save time compared to a lengthy trial. However, when it comes to using arbitration to settle ERISA claims, things become quickly complicated. There are a lot of legal factors that can change whether an ERISA claim can be handled with arbitration or not. Talking with a Delaware ERISA lawyer can help you figure out what your legal options are when you are faced with a breach of your ERISA rights by your employer. 


Arbitration in Delaware is a legal alternative to filing a lawsuit through the courts. This method, like mediation, can save the parties involved a lot of time and money that usually goes into lengthy court trials. This can be appealing to people who want a fast and efficient solution to their legal dispute.

Can Arbitration Be Used for ERISA Claims?Unlike court trials, arbitration is managed by arbitrators rather than a judge or a jury. This process may involve a single arbitrator or a group of arbitrators who are expected to remain unbiased to the case presented to them. Arbitrators are trained to hear both sides in an objective way to find the truth and make a legally justified decision on the case.

One other benefit of arbitration is how much cheaper this process is compared to court trials. Arbitration still involves some fees, but not usually as much as court cases. When it comes to the downsides of arbitration, there are three main costs if you choose arbitration over a court trial:

  • You cannot file an appeal to any arbitration decisions.
  • Arbitrators are not mandated to follow federal or state laws for evidence.
  • Limited discovery process.

This means that seeking arbitration for a Delaware ERISA claim can save time and money but may not be worth it depending on your preferences. There are some risks to seeking arbitration for an ERISA case. 


Whether arbitration can be used for ERISA claims has been debated in courts for years up until the Ninth Circuit federal court ruled that arbitration cannot be mandated for ERISA legal actions on the basis of signed arbitration agreements alone. This means that ERISA arbitration in Delaware might not be possible depending on certain legal factors. 

Even if an arbitration agreement exists in the plan document, a mandatory arbitration can still not be held for ERISA claims. The main thing to take away from this is that a person cannot sign an arbitration agreement that stops a party from filing an ERISA claim without the consent of a plan. One thing the Supreme Court did not touch on was whether an employee could waive the plan’s right to take class lawsuit actions. 


Navigating the complexities of ERISA claims and arbitration can be confusing. Do not hesitate to seek assistance from an experienced ERISA attorney in Delaware if you find yourself wondering whether you can file an ERISA claim through arbitration. Call Edelstein Martin & Nelson at (302) 295-5050 for a free consultation today. Our team of ERISA claim lawyers is located in Wilmington, Delaware. 

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