Justia Arbitration & Mediation Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Civil
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Off-Spec Solutions LLC was a trucking company located in Nampa, Idaho, that was formed by two brothers: Christopher and Daniel Salvador. The Salvadors sold 51 percent of their ownership interest in Off-Spec Solutions to Transportation Investors LLC. To implement the transaction, the Salvadors and Transportation Investors entered into a purchase agreement and an LLC agreement. The purchase agreement identified “The Central Valley Fund II” and “The Central Valley Fund III” as affiliates of Transportation Investors. Off-Spec Solutions also entered into separate employment agreements with the Salvadors. The purchase agreement stated that all disputes concerning the agreement would be governed by California law. After disputes arose between the parties, Off-Spec Solutions petitioned an Idaho district court to compel the Salvadors to arbitrate claims relating to the employment agreements in Idaho instead of California. The Salvadors subsequently filed a cross-application with the district court seeking to compel Off-Spec Solutions and Transportation Investors and its affiliates to arbitrate all claims between the parties in a consolidated arbitration in Idaho. While those applications were pending, Transportation Investors and its affiliates filed a petition with a California Superior Court seeking to compel the Salvadors to arbitrate all claims arising from the purchase agreement and the LLC agreement in Sacramento County, California. The questions this case presented for the Idaho Supreme Court’s review were: (1) whether a forum selection clause was unenforceable under California law if enforcement would contravene a strong public policy of the forum where suit is brought (in this case, Idaho); and, if yes, then (2) whether the forum selection clauses at issue must be invalidated based on the public policy set forth in Idaho Code section 29-110(1). The Supreme Court held California law required an examination of the public policy of the forum in which suit was brought, and that the forum selection clauses at issue violated the strong public policy of the State of Idaho. The Court affirmed the district court’s ruling that claims arising from the parties’ purchase agreement and LLC agreement had to be arbitrated in Idaho. View "Off-Spec Solutions LLC v. Transportation Investors LLC" on Justia Law

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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