Justia Arbitration & Mediation Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Civil

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This case arose from the division of a three-member accounting firm, Siddoway, Wadsworth & Reese, PLLC. The three members of the firm were the personal professional corporations solely owned by each accountant. In early 2015, Reese PC signed a purchase agreement to buy a one-half interest in the client base of Siddoway PC for $200,000. This purchase agreement included an arbitration clause. In August of 2015, Siddoway left the accounting firm, taking several employees and the clients’ information with him. Following Siddoway’s departure, the firm (now named Wadsworth Reese, PLLC), along with its remaining members, filed a complaint in the district court against Siddoway and his personal professional corporation and two of the employees who followed him. Siddoway counterclaimed. The parties brought a range of claims. Reese PC and Siddoway PC also went to arbitration for claims related to their purchase agreement, but the arbitrator determined the purchase agreement was void for failure of a condition subsequent. The remaining claims between the parties were tried by the district court. The district court ultimately decided to “leave the parties where it found them.” This included final determinations pertinent to this appeal: (1) dissociation of Siddoway’s personal professional corporation as a firm member; (2) Siddoway and Siddoway PC were not entitled to attorney fees for compelling arbitration; (3) Siddoway PC failed to show unjust enrichment from the void purchase agreement; and (4) the firm could fund Reese’s personal professional corporation’s litigation and arbitration costs because resolving the purchase-agreement dispute served a legitimate business purpose. Siddoway and Siddoway PC appealed. The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment: Siddoway and Siddoway PC were not entitled to attorney fees for compelling arbitration, nor did they show unjust enrichment or breach of membership duties. View "Wadsworth Reese v. Siddoway & Co" on Justia Law

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In 2006, T3 Enterprises entered into the Distributor Agreement with Safeguard Business Systems (SBS). In 2014, T3 filed suit alleging SBS had breached the Distributor Agreement by failing to prevent other SBS distributors from selling to T3’s customers and for paying commissions to the interfering distributors rather than to T3. The Distributor Agreement between SBS and T3 contained an arbitration clause indicating disputes must be resolved in a Dallas, Texas based arbitration procedure. The Distributor Agreement also contained a forum selection clause indicating that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and Texas law would apply to any disputes between the parties. Pursuant to this agreement, SBS moved the district court to compel arbitration in Dallas. The district court determined the parties had to submit to arbitration, but that the Dallas forum selection clause was unenforceable, and arbitration was to take place in Idaho. The Arbitration Panel (the Panel) found for T3 and the district court confirmed the award in the amount of $4,362,041.95. The district court denied SBS’s motion to vacate or modify the award. SBS appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court. View "T3 Enterprises v. Safeguard Business Sys" on Justia Law

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Richard and Lisa Keane and the companies they managed, and Bald, Fat & Ugly, LLC (BFU) had a disagreement arising from a development deal involving the Houston Professional Plaza. They went to mediation, but the parties had a disagreement regarding the terms of the mediated agreement. They then turned to arbitration. The arbitrator granted two awards in favor of BFU. The award did not specify any date by which the Keanes were to pay the money, nor did the award include interest. The district court confirmed the arbitration awards, and issued a writ of execution. The sheriff returned the writ not satisfied. BFU then obtained an order for a debtor's examination. A partial satisfaction of judgment was made, but the Keanes did not direct how the payment made was to be applied to the two arbitration awards. BFU applied the partial satisfaction to one of the awards, and filed a motion to have the Keanes held in contempt for failing to pay the second. The Keanes challenged the contempt action. The Supreme Court, after its review of the matter, found that because the order confirming the arbitration award did not require the Keanes to do anything and because contempt cannot be used to enforce payment of the debt in this case, the Court reversed the judgment of the district court finding them in contempt and the order later entered awarding the respondent attorney fees and court costs. View "Bald, Fat & Ugly v. Keane" on Justia Law