Del Webb Communities, Inc. v. Carlson

This appeal stems from Roger and Mary Jo Carlson's attempt to arbitrate class action claims against Pulte under a sales agreement that contained an arbitration clause, and Pulte's efforts to limit arbitration to the claims between the three parties. Because the primary goal in enforcing an arbitration agreement is to discern and honor party intent, and because of the fundamental differences between bilateral and class arbitration - which change the nature of arbitration altogether - the court held that whether parties agree to class arbitration is a gateway question for the court. In this case, the parties did not unmistakably provide that the arbitrator would decide whether their agreement authorizes class arbitration. In fact, the sales agreement says nothing at all about the subject. Therefore, the district court erred in concluding that the question was a procedural one for the arbitrator. Accordingly, the court reversed the order denying Pulte's motion for partial summary judgment, vacated the judgment dismissing the petition, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Del Webb Communities, Inc. v. Carlson" on Justia Law