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Jimmy Nation, Oliver McCollum, James Pickle, James Nation, Micah Nation, and Benjamin Chemeel II (collectively referred to as "the defendants") appealed the circuit court's denial of their motion to compel arbitration of a breach-of-contract claim filed against them by the Lydmar Revocable Trust ("Lydmar"). Lydmar owned a 75% membership interest in Aldwych, LLC. In 2008, Lydmar and the defendants entered into an agreement pursuant to which Lydmar agreed to sell its membership interest in Aldwych, LLC, to the defendants. The defendants paid Lydmar a portion of the agreed price at the time the agreement was executed and simultaneously executed two promissory notes for the balance of the purchase price. By 2014, Lydmar sued defendants for breach of contract for failing to make the required payments. At the request of the parties, the circuit court delayed setting the matter for a bench trial until they had an opportunity to resolve the case without a trial. The parties' attempts failed. Thereafter, defendants filed a motion to compel arbitration of Lydmar's breach-of-contract claim. Lydmar did not file a response to the defendants' motion to compel arbitration. After review, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed, finding defendants submitted evidence showing that Lydmar signed a contract agreeing that all disputes between them related to the defendants' purchase of Lydmar's membership interest in Aldwych would be settled in arbitration and that the contract evidenced a transaction affecting interstate commerce. Lydmar did not refute that evidence, nor did it establish that the defendants waived their right to rely on those arbitration provisions. Therefore, the circuit court erred by returning the case to its active docket and effectively denying the defendants' motion to compel arbitration. View "Nation et al. v. Lydmar Revocable Trust" on Justia Law

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The district court lacked jurisdiction to vacate an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Matt Karo and Michael Karo obtained federally reinsured crop insurance policies serviced by NAU Country Insurance Company (NAU). The Karos submitted “prevented planting” claims under their crop insurance policies alleging that they were unable to plant corn on certain acres due to wet conditions. NAU denied the Karos’ prevented planting claims. The parties then submitted their disputes to binding arbitration pursuant to a mandatory arbitration clause in the crop insurance policies. The arbitrator denied coverage. The Karos then sought to vacate the arbitration award under section ten of the FAA. The district court vacated the arbitration award, finding that the arbitrator exceeded his powers and manifestly disregarded the law. The Supreme court vacated the district court’s judgment and dismissed this appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the district court lacked jurisdiction to enter a judgment vacating the arbitration award under the FAA because the Karos failed to comply with the three-month notice requirement of section twelve of the FAA. View "Karo v. NAU Country Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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In this arbitrability dispute, the Supreme Court reversed the portion of the intermediate court of appeals’ (ICA) order denying Petitioners’ request for appellate attorneys’ fees and affirmed the portions of the ICA’s order granting Petitioners’ request for appellate costs and denying Petitioners’ request for fees and costs incurred in the circuit court without prejudice. The court held (1) for purposes of Haw. Rev. Stat. 607-14, the appeal of the arbitrability issue is a separate action from the underlying dispute on the merits; (2) Petitioners prevailed in the arbitrability action and were therefore entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees under section 607-14 and a fee-shifting provision in a purchase agreement; and (3) as to Petitioners’ request for an order stating that they were entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in proceedings before the circuit court and in arbitration, the circuit court properly denied without prejudice to Petitioners’ right to request fees and costs from the circuit court. View "Charles v. Kapalua Bay, LLC " on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's order compelling arbitration and final judgment in a suit between IQ and WD-40. The court held that the 1996 Agreement between the parties contained an arbitration clause and IQ acknowledges that this arbitration covered some set of claims; IQ waived its challenged to the district court's conclusion that the parties clearly and unmistakably intended to delegate the issue of arbitrability to the arbitrator by conceding it before the district court; and WD-40's assertion of arbitrability was not wholly groundless. The court also held that the arbitrators acted within their authority in deciding that the dispute was arbitrable, and the district court was correct to deny IQ's motion to vacate the award under 9 U.S.C. 10(a)(4). View "IQ Products Co. v. WD-40 Co." on Justia Law

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After relator alleged that her former employer violated the federal False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3730(a), (b), and Nevada FCA, the United States and Nevada declined to intervene. The employer then moved to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 1 et seq. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of the motion to compel arbitration on an alternate ground, holding that the plain text of relator's arbitration agreement did not encompass the FCA case. View "US/Nevada ex rel. Welch v. My Left Foot Children's Therapy, LLC" on Justia Law

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The “Sunoco Rewards Program,” which Sunoco advertised, offered customers who buy gas at Sunoco locations using a Citibank-issued credit card a five-cent per gallon discount either at the pump or on their monthly billing statements. The “Terms and Conditions of Offer” sheet, indicating that Citibank is the issuer of the Card, stated that by applying for the card, the applicant authorized Citibank to “share with Sunoco® and its affiliates experiential and transactional information regarding your activity with us.” Sunoco was not a corporate affiliate of and had no ownership interest in Citibank and vice versa. White obtained a Sunoco Rewards Card from Citibank in 2013. He made fuel purchases with the card at various Sunoco-branded gas station locations. White filed a purported class action against Sunoco, not Citibank, alleging that “[c]ontrary to its clear and express representations, Sunoco does not apply a 5¢/gallon discount on all fuel purchases made by cardholders at every Sunoco location. Sunoco omits this material information to induce customers to sign-up for the Sunoco. The Third Circuit affirmed the denial of Sunoco’s motion to compel arbitration. Sunoco, a non-signatory to the credit card agreement and not mentioned in the agreement, cannot compel White to arbitrate. View "White v. Sunoco Inc" on Justia Law

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In November 2008, following the collapse of the housing market, the New Jersey Supreme Court implemented a statewide Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program to address the economic crisis that left many facing the loss of their homes. After defaulting on her home loan with plaintiff GMAC Mortgage, LLC, defendant TamiLynn Willoughby entered into the Foreclosure Mediation Program. The mediation process led to an agreement between GMAC and Willoughby that gave Willoughby a path to save her home through a permanent modification of the loan. The agreement, executed in 2010, set forth the required down payment and monthly payments, the unpaid principal balance, the amount in arrears, and the length and interest rate of the loan. Willoughby complied with that agreement, paying the down payment and each monthly installment for one year. Then, GMAC began sending Willoughby proposals differing from the 2010 agreement, which GMAC claimed was provisional. Willoughby moved to enforce the 2010 settlement agreement, but instead the chancery court ordered additional mediation sessions. Willoughby never accepted in writing any of GMAC s proposals to modify the original agreement. Protracted litigation ensued. Willoughby's efforts to enforce the 2010 settlement agreement proved fruitless, and GMAC s foreclosure action ended with a Sheriff's sale of Willoughby's home. Willoughby was denied relief by the chancery court, which held that the 2010 mediation agreement was provisional and not enforceable as a final settlement agreement. The Appellate Division affirmed. The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed, concluding Willoughby and GMAC entered into an enforceable settlement agreement through the Foreclosure Mediation Program. The case was remanded to the chancery court to consider an appropriate remedy. View "GMAC Mortgage, LLC v. TamiLynn Willoughby" on Justia Law

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The Fund, a multi-employer benefit plan established under Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 186(c)(5). The Act broadly prohibits employers from providing payments of money or other items of value to employee representatives, with an exception for employee benefit trust funds that comply with statutory requirements, including mandatory administration by a board of trustees composed of an equal number of employee and employer representatives. The Fund is overseen by five union-designated trustees and five employer-designated trustees. The Act requires such funds to install a mechanism allowing a federal district court to appoint a neutral party to resolve any impasse; the Fund’s Agreement specifies that “[i]n the event of a deadlock,” the Trustees “may agree upon an impartial umpire to break such deadlock.” If they cannot agree with a reasonable time, they may petition the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to appoint an impartial umpire. The Trustees deadlocked on a motion seeking to approve payment of compensation to eligible Trustees for attendance at Fund meetings and another seeking to clarify and confirm the eligibility requirements for Employer Trustees. In each case, one-half of the board petitioned the court to appoint an arbitrator to settle the dispute, and the opposing half sought to prevent the requested appointment. The court declined to send either conflict to arbitration. The Third Circuit remanded, finding that both disputes were within the purview of the parties’ agreement to arbitrate. View "Employer Trustees of Western Pennsylvania Teamsters v. Union Trustees of Western Pennsylvania Teamsters" on Justia Law

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A broadly-worded agreement in one contract can require arbitration of disputes arising under related contracts. To determine whether an arbitration provision in one agreement should be applied to other agreements, in addition to the relationship between two or more agreements and their subject matter, courts consider whether the parties to the separate agreements are identical, whether the underlying agreements were executed closely in time, and the breadth of the language used in the arbitration clause. The question whether a particular dispute is arbitrable usually is for judicial determination unless the parties agree otherwise. Gary and Glory Kramlich appealed, and Robert and Susan Hale cross-appealed, an order dismissing the Kramlichs' lawsuit against the Hales and various entities, and directing the parties to submit their disputes to binding arbitration. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court correctly ordered arbitration of the Kramlichs' claims relating to the operating agreement for Somerset-Minot, LLC, but erred in ordering arbitration of claims relating to Somerset Court Partnership. View "Kramlich v. Hale" on Justia Law

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A defendant in a putative class action can waive its right to compel arbitration against absent class members by deciding not to seek arbitration against the named plaintiff. In this wage and hour class action, the Court of Appeals held that Plan B waived its right to seek arbitration by filing and then withdrawing a motion to compel arbitration against the named plaintiff, Maria Elena Sprunk, and then waiting until after a class had been certified to seek arbitration against class members. The court held that Plan B provided sufficient evidence of the arbitration agreements; sufficient evidence supported the trial court's waiver finding; and substantial evidence supported the trial court's finding that Plan B delayed filing its motions to compel arbitration so that it could obtain a strategic advantage. The court explained that the the four-year delay resulted in Sprunk conducting class-related discovery and preparing and arguing an extensive class certification motion that never would have been necessary if individual arbitration had been ordered earlier in the case. Accordingly, the court affirmed the trial court's motion to compel arbitration. View "Sprunk v. Prisma LLC" on Justia Law