Peabody Holding Co. v. United Mine Workers of America, No. 10-2134 (4th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
This case arose when Union entered into a limited job-preference agreement with Peabody Coal where the agreement included an arbitration clause. The district court subsequently entered judgment in favor of Union, ruling that the arbitrator properly determined the arbitrability of the dispute. In the alternative, the district court concluded that the dispute was arbitrable, even if the arbitrator lacked authority to decide the arbitrability question. Peabody Coal appealed. The court held, as an initial matter, that the court, not the arbitrator must decide whether the dispute was arbitrable. The parties' agreement lacked the requisite "clear and unmistakable" language evincing an intent to arbitrate arbitrability. Exercising the court's independent judgment on the arbitrability question, the court concluded that Peabody Coal had not rebutted the ordinary presumption in favor of arbitrability. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment and the parties must proceed to arbitration.