Fedor v. United Healthcare, Inc. 976 F.3d 1100 (10th Cir. Sept. 16, 2020)

When an employee sued her employer in federal district court, the employer sought to compel arbitration of her claims based upon a purported arbitration agreement. The employee countered that she had never seen nor signed the agreement. Relying on the agreement’s “delegation clause” – which granted sole authority to the arbitrator to resolve disputes as to formation of the agreement – the district court dismissed the employee’s claims and compelled her to arbitrate. On appeal, the Tenth Circuit reversed, holding a federal court evaluating a motion to compel arbitration must first determine whether an arbitration agreement actually exists before enforcing its terms. This is true even where the party opposing arbitration fails to specifically challenge language granting the arbitrator sole authority to decide issues of formation.