Buckeye Check Cashing, Inc. v. Cardegna

Buckeye Check Cashing, Inc. v. Cardegna, 546 U.S. 440 (2006) involved a putative class action filed in state court alleging the underlying contract signed by Buckeye and its customers violated state laws prohibiting usury and deceptive trade practices. 546 U.S. at 443. Buckeye moved to compel arbitration of that case. Id. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide "whether a court or an arbitrator should consider the claim that a contract containing an arbitration provision is void for illegality." Id. at 442. The Supreme Court observed that "the crux of the complaint is that the contract as a whole (including its arbitration provision) is rendered invalid by the usurious finance charge," and went on to conclude that "because respondents challenge the Agreement, but not specifically its arbitration provisions, those provisions are enforceable apart from the remainder of the contract." Id. at 444, 446. It found that "the challenge should therefore be considered by an arbitrator, not a court." Id. at 446. The Supreme Court ultimately held that "regardless of whether the challenge is brought in federal or state court, a challenge to the validity of a contract as a whole, and not specifically to the arbitration clause, must go to the arbitrator." Id. at 449.