Justia Arbitration & Mediation Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Iowa Supreme Court
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In this appeal from the district court's denial of a motion to dismiss and compel arbitration the Supreme Court held that the court-appointed liquidator of a now-insolvent health insurer pursuing common law tort claims against a third-party contractor is bound by an arbitration provision in a preinsolvency agreement between the health insurer and the third-party contractor. Prior to its insolvency, the health insurance provider entered into an agreement with a third-party contractor for consulting services. The provider was later declared insolvent and placed into liquidation. Plaintiff, the provider's court-appointed liquidator, brought an action against the contractor, asserting common law tort damages. The contractor filed a motion to dismiss and compel arbitration on the grounds that the parties' agreement contained an arbitration clause. The district court denied the motion, concluding that the arbitration provision did not apply. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the liquidator was bound by the arbitration provision because the liquidator stood in the shoes of the provider; (2) the liquidator could not use Iowa Code 507C.21(k) to disavow a preinsolvency agreement that the contractor already performed; and (3) the McCarran-Ferguson Act does not permit reverse preemption of the Federal Arbitration Act when the liquidator asserts common law tort damages against a third-party contractor. View "Ommen v. MilliMan, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court interpreting the 2017 amendments to Iowa Code chapter 20, the Public Employment Relations Act, limiting the mandatory subjects of collective bargaining and the matters an arbitrator may consider if the dispute enters binding arbitration, holding that the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) and the district court correctly interpreted the amendments. A union sought a declaratory order from PERB and then judicial review of the declaratory order seeking to clarify certain provisions in the amendments. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court affirming PERB's decision, holding (1) "base wages" under Iowa Code 20.9(1) means the floor level of pay for each job before upward adjustments such as for job shift or longevity; and (2) the term "past collective bargaining agreement" in the context of Iowa Code 20.22(10)(b)(1) allows an arbitrator to consider the existing collective bargaining agreement but not ones that came before. View "United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America v. Iowa Public Employment Relations Board" on Justia Law

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Following the death of Cletus Roth, a resident of a nursing facility operated by The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, Roth’s estate and his adult children filed an action against Good Samaritan, alleging, inter alia, wrongful death, negligence, and loss of consortium. After removing the case to federal court, Good Samaritan moved to compel arbitration. The federal district court directed that the claims of Roth’s estate be submitted to arbitration but asked the Supreme Court to answer two certified questions of Iowa law relating to the adult children’s loss-of-consortium claims. The Supreme Court answered (1) Iowa Code 613.15 does not require that adult children’s loss-of-parental-consortium claims be arbitrated when the deceased parent’s estate’s claims are otherwise subject to arbitration; and (2) in light of the Court’s answer to the previous question, the second question has become moot. View "Roth v. Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society" on Justia Law

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The Iowa Individual Health Benefit Reinsurance Association (“IIHBRA”), a nonprofit corporation, sued its members (“the universities”) for unpaid assessments it was statutorily obligated to collect. The universities filed a motion to dismiss the petition, arguing that the IIHBRA lacks the capacity to sue based on the 2001 amendment to Iowa Code chapter 513C. Chapter 513C initially included a provision stating that IIHBRA had the power to “sue or be sued,” but the 2001 amendment deleted that provision. Alternatively, the universities argued that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the IIHBRA is required to arbitrate under Iowa Code 679A.19. The district court granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the 2001 amendment to chapter 513C left intact the IIHBRA’s capacity to sue under Iowa Code chapter 504A; (2) the IIHBRA is not subject to mandatory arbitration under Iowa Code 679A.19; and (3) therefore, the IIHBRA has the capacity to sue its members in district court for unpaid assessments. View "Iowa Individual Health Benefit Reinsurance Ass’n v. Stat Univ. of Iowa" on Justia Law