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In this lawsuit between AllyAlign Health, Inc. and Signature Advantage, LLC the Supreme Court granted AllyAlign's motion for an order to compel arbitration of all claims, holding that a carve-out provision in the parties' contract for certain claims to be decided by a court did not negate the mandate of the Commercial Arbitration Rules and Arbitration Procedures of the American Arbitration Association (AAA's Rules) that the initial arbitrability of claims is to be determined by the arbitrator, not the courts. AllyAlign contracted with Signature Advantage for AllyAlign's services. The contract contained an arbitration provision incorporating the AAA's Rules. Signature Advantage later sued AllyAlign for breach of contract and other claims. AllyAlign moved to compel arbitration on all the claims based on the AAA's Rules that delegate to the arbitrator the initial decision about the arbitrability of claims arising between the parties. In response, Signature Advantage argued that the language of the carve-out provision exempted equitable claims from arbitration. The trial court granted in part the motion to compel arbitration but denied the motion for the claims it found to demand equitable relief. The Supreme Court compelled arbitration of all claims, holding that the trial court's order declining to refer all the claims of the complaint was erroneous. View "AllyAlign Health, Inc. v. Signature Advantage, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the superior court denying Defendant's motion to confirm an arbitration award in Defendant's favor, holding that the trial justice properly exercised his discretion when he determined, under the circumstances, that Plaintiff's corrected electronic filing rejecting the arbitration award was prompt. In the underlying legal malpractice action Plaintiff alleged that Defendant, his former attorney, had failed properly to record a property settlement agreement that had been executed by Plaintiff and his ex-wife during the course of their divorce proceeding. The action proceeded to arbitration, and an arbitration award was issued in favor of Defendant. Plaintiff rejected the arbitration award using the superior court's electronic filing system but used an incorrect filing code. When Plaintiff learned of his error he attempted a correct filing. That filing was rejected because the statutory filing period had expired. The Supreme Court affirmed the superior court's denial of Defendant's motion to confirm the arbitration award, holding that Plaintiff's correct filing was properly considered timely. View "Richard v. Robinson" on Justia Law

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At issue were claims of fraudulent sales practices by two car dealerships that allegedly induced consumers to enter into agreements for the purchase of cars. The question presented for the New Jersey Supreme Court’s review was whether plaintiffs could avoid being compelled to arbitrate those claims. Plaintiffs challenged the formation and validity of their sales agreements on the bases that the dealerships’ fraudulent practices and misrepresentations induced them to sign the transactional documents and that the agreements were invalid due to violations of statutory consumer fraud requirements. As part of the overall set of documents, plaintiffs signed arbitration agreements. Those agreements contained straightforward and conspicuous language that broadly delegated arbitrability issues. Each trial court determined the arbitration agreements to be enforceable and entered orders compelling plaintiffs to litigate their various claims challenging the overall validity of the sales contracts in the arbitral forum. The Appellate Division reversed those orders. The Supreme Court reversed: “the trial courts’ resolution of these matters was correct and consistent with clear rulings from the United States Supreme Court that bind state and federal courts on how challenges such as plaintiffs’ should proceed. Those rulings do not permit threshold issues about overall contract validity to be resolved by the courts when the arbitration agreement itself is not specifically challenged. Here, plaintiffs attack the sales contracts in their entirety, not the language or clarity of the agreements to arbitrate or the broad delegation clauses contained in those signed arbitration agreements.” View "Goffe v. Foulke Management Corp." on Justia Law

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Farmers brought an interlocutory appeal of the district court's rulings interpreting an arbitration agreement in an employment contract. The Eighth Circuit dismissed the appeal based on lack of jurisdiction, holding that when a district court enters a stay instead of a dismissal, that order is not appealable. In this case, the district court's decision stayed the case pending arbitration, but did not dismiss the claims. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction under 9 U.S.C. 16(a)(1)(B) absent an order denying arbitration outright, and the court declined to apply the collateral order doctrine to find jurisdiction in this case. View "Webb v. Farmers of North America, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit vacated a petition for a writ of mandamus seeking to vacate the district court’s order compelling arbitration of claims that UPS overcharged retail customers who shipped packages through third-party facilities by applying Delivery Surcharge Rates higher than the rates UPS advertised. The panel applied California law and held that the district court's order determining that the parties had entered into a binding arbitration agreement was not clearly erroneous as a matter of law. Therefore, the extraordinary remedy of mandamus was not warranted, because plaintiff unequivocally assented to online terms that incorporated the document containing the arbitration clause in question. View "Holl v. United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland" on Justia Law

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In this dispute over attorney fees and costs following arbitration the Supreme Court held (1) a request for costs under Cal. Code Civ. P. 998 is timely if filed with the arbitrator within fifteen days of a final award and that judicial review is limited if an arbitrator refuses to award costs; and (2) the court of appeal erred in relying on a narrow exception to those limits. Client retained Attorney, and the representation agreement included a clause providing for private arbitration of disputes involving legal fees. Attorney later sued Client alleging that he owed outstanding legal fees. Client made an offer to settle the case under section 998, but the offer was not accepted. Thereafter, Client filed a demand for arbitration, which the court granted. The arbitrator issued an award granting $0 to both parties. Thereafter, Client sought costs. The arbitrator refused to award costs. The trial court confirmed the award and also refused to add costs. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) evidence of a section 998 offer may be presented before or after a final arbitration award; (2) Client's request for costs was timely; but (3) the arbitrator's denial of costs cannot be vacated. View "Heimlich v. Shivji" on Justia Law

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When the parties to a contract agree to arbitrate, rather than litigate, certain disputes that might later unfold, Congress directs federal courts to honor the parties' wishes. Under the Federal Arbitration Act, courts generally enforce any resulting arbitration award, barring specific circumstances—such as when the arbitrator exceeds his legal authority or otherwise jeopardizes the fair arbitration process. In this case, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's confirmation of the arbitration award and rejected Apache's challenges to the contrary. The court held that KPMG issued a "reasoned award" here where it noted that it based its analysis on the parties' statements and accounting records, pointed to its finding on the accrual of liabilities, and explained what documentation it found relevant in evaluating the proper refund amount. View "YPF S.A. v. Apache Overseas, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court quashed preliminary writs issued preventing the circuit court from enforcing its orders sustaining motions to compel arbitration and stay proceedings filed by Dollar General, holding that the circuit court properly sustained Dollar General's motions to compel arbitration, stayed the cases, and ordered the parties to arbitrate the question of whether consideration existed. After Jesse Newberry and Becky Lowrance were discharged from Dollar General, they filed charges of discrimination. Dollar General filed motions to compel Newberry and Lowrance to submit their claims to arbitration and stay further proceedings on the grounds that the employees signed agreements to arbitrate. The circuit court sustained Dollar General's motions to compel. Newberry and Lowrance each sought a permanent writ of prohibition preventing the circuit court from enforcing its orders, arguing that Dollar General failed to meet its burden to show consideration supported either the employee arbitration agreements or the provisions delegating threshold issues of arbitrability to the arbitrator. The Supreme Court held that the circuit court properly sustained Dollar General's motions to compel arbitration and stay the cases. View "State ex rel. Newberry v. Honorable Steve Jackson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court denying a motion to compel arbitration, holding that the court's order did not contain sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law for the Supreme Court to conduct a proper review. Plaintiff sued Defendant for invasion of privacy and alleging that they violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, W.Va. Code 46A-1-101 to -8-102. Defendants moved to compel arbitration. The circuit court denied the motion to compel arbitration, apparently determining that no arbitration agreement was formed and, simultaneously, that the arbitration agreement was unconscionable and should not be enforced. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court's order, holding that the case must be remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings, including the determination of whether any arbitration agreement existed between the parties and, if so, whether that agreement was unconscionable. View "Certegy Check Services v. Fuller" on Justia Law

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Greenway Health, LLC, and Greenway EHS, Inc. (formerly EHS, Inc.) (collectively, "the Greenway defendants"), and Sunrise Technology Consultants, LLC, and Lee Investment Consultants, LLC (collectively, "the Sunrise defendants"), appealed separately a circuit court order denying their motion to compel the arbitration of certain claims asserted against them by Southeast Alabama Rural Health Associates ("SARHA"). Because the Alabama Supreme Court determined the Greenway defendants failed to establish the existence of a contract containing an arbitration provision, the Sunrise defendants' argument based on an intertwining-claims theory also failed. The Court therefore affirmed the trial court's denial of the Greenway defendants' and the Sunrise defendants' motions to stay proceedings and to compel arbitration. View "Greenway Health, LLC, and Greenway EHS, Inc. v. Southeast Alabama Rural Health Associates" on Justia Law