How far does arbitration extend?

You enter into a contract that contemplates future performance. Say it’s an installment contract. You buy my land - a grapefruit orchard, let’s say, but you don’t know a lot about farming it. I do. I agree to sell you all my grapefruit, and you agree to pay me the market rate for my grapefruit. But I’m worried the floor is going to fall out from the market and you won’t pay me enough to cover my costs; you’re worried I’m not going to grow enough grapefruit anyway. We agree to arbitrate that part of the contract. But only that part of the contract.

We disagree and we arbitrate. The arbitrator decides who should pay what to whom, but she does more on top of that. She decides that there was mutual mistake in part of the contract and reforms that part of the contract, say to my benefit. You’re not happy, but arbitration is generally not appealable.

What do you do? The Fifth Circuit says you file a federal lawsuit. Though courts, broadly, favor arbitration, the Fifth Circuit says that’s only a rule to apply in the case of ambiguity, which, like all the other rules, falls to the wayside in the face of clear language.