Justia Arbitration & Mediation Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Landlord - Tenant
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Arbitration is a contractual agreement between parties. And only agreed-upon arbitrable disputes are subject to arbitration. On de novo review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found in this case a valid arbitration agreement, but the subject of the lessee’s premises-liability claim (a dispute that stemmed from a physical and sexual assault on the apartment complex premises) was not within the arbitration agreement’s scope, as it did not arise under or relate to her “occupancy and leasing of the [apartment].” Because the dispute was outside the agreement’s scope, the trial court erred by staying proceedings and ordering arbitration. View "Jane Doe v. Hallmark Partners, LP" on Justia Law

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Grievant, a state employee and a member of a Union, was terminated after he was caught smoking marijuana. The Union contested Grievant’s termination. Concluding that complete termination of Grievant’s conduct was not the only appropriate penalty for his misconduct, an arbitrator reinstated Grievant to his employment and imposed a number of sanctions and conditions short of termination. The trial court vacated the award, concluding that there was a well-defined public policy against the use of marijuana and that the arbitrator’s award violated that policy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court erred in concluding that reinstatement of the Grievant violated public policy. View "State v. Conn. Employees Union Indep." on Justia Law

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In 2011 Bankers leased Chicago office space from CBRE. Another tenant, Groupon, needed more office space. CBRE asked Bankers to sublease to Groupon and relocate. Bankers and CBRE signed a Listing Agreement, including terms required by 225 ILCS 454/15-5(a), 15-75. Bankers told CBRE that it wanted to net $7 million from its deals with Groupon and the lessor of the replacement space. CBRE presented Bankers with cost-benefit analyses (CBAs), comparing the costs of leasing new space with the benefits of subleasing the old space to Groupon. A May 2011 CBA showed a net savings of $6.9 million to Bankers from relocating to East Wacker Drive. Bankers responded by subleasing to Groupon and leasing that space. CBRE’s calculation was inaccurate. It omitted Bankers’ promise to give Groupon a $3.1 million tenant improvement allowance. Had Bankers known it would profit by only $3.8 million, it would have rejected the deal; CBRE would not have obtained $4.5 million in commissions. In an arbitration proceeding, the panel issued three “final decisions,” all favoring CBRE, and awarded costs. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The panel exceeded its authority. It was authorized to interpret the contract (Listing Agreement), which did not include the CBAs or a disclaimer contained in the CBAs. View "Bankers Life & Cas/ Ins. Co. v. CBRE, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2010, Yan Chen, who had a business interest in a restaurant, entered into a 10-year lease agreement with Russell Realty, LLC, and MRT, LLC. The property to be leased was located in Greenville. The lease agreement was drafted by Russell Realty and contained an arbitration clause. In 2012, Russell Realty and MRT sued Chen along with Qiaoyun He, Joe Zou, and Yami Buffet, Inc., alleging breach of contract. Chen filed a response to the motion, alleging that she had been in China for a few months, and that she had not been personally served with notice of the lawsuit. She subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, asserting that the lease agreement contained an arbitration clause and that "said complaint[] fails to state any measures that have been taken in lieu of the fulfillment of such agreed Arbitration Clause." The trial court denied both Russell Realty and MRT's motion for a default judgment and Chen's motion to dismiss. About a month after this, Chen filed a motion to compel arbitration, asserting that, as "part of Plaintiffs['] lease agreement, plaintiff[s] agreed to binding arbitration. In 2013, Chen filed a second motion to dismiss, alleging that Russell Realty and MRT had refused to mediate and had refused to arbitrate. Russell Realty and MRT filed an objection to Chen's second motion to dismiss, asserting that "time of the stay set by the court has almost expired and Defendant Yan Chen has not made any movement, act, or effort to seek Arbitration to resolve the issues." Russell Realty and MRT again sought a default judgment against the defendants, including Chen. She asserted that counsel for Russell Realty and MRT had failed to respond to her attempts to seek a settlement before the hiring of a mediator or arbitrator and that, subsequently, she had contacted a mediator/arbitrator and Russell Realty and MRT had not responded to her choice of mediator/arbitrator. The trial court then entered an order stating that the Chen's appeal was moot as the court had not yet entered a final order. In early 2015, the trial court entered an order awarding Russell Realty and MRT $682,050.10 against all the defendants, including Chen, jointly and severally. Chen appealed. Based on its review of the facts in the circuit court record, the Supreme Court reversed with regard to Chen and remanded the case for the trial court to enter an order requiring arbitration in accordance with the terms of the lease agreement. View "Chen v. Russell Realty, LLC" on Justia Law

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From 2002 to 2012, Defendant leased from Plaintiff business premises located in Portland. In 2012, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that Defendant had breached certain provisions in the written lease. Defendant counterclaimed, alleging that Plaintiff had failed to perform certain repairs required by the lease. The parties went to mediation on their dispute and reached a settlement agreement through that mediation. Defendant later moved to amend its original counterclaim to add a second count for breach of the settlement agreement. The superior court concluded that the counterclaim seeking to enforce the settlement was moot because Plaintiff signed an agreement reflecting all of the terms of the settlement reached through mediation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Plaintiff executed a general release that complied with the agreement reached through mediation, the superior court correctly determined that Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on its counterclaim seeking to enforce the settlement agreement was moot. View "2301 Congress Realty, LLC v. Wise Bus. Forms, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff leased property from Defendants pursuant to a lease agreement that included an arbitration clause. Plaintiffs later sued Defendants over disputes regarding the lease. After engaging in litigation with Plaintiff for more than two years, Defendants filed a motion to stay the proceedings pending arbitration under the parties’ lease agreement. Plaintiff objected to the motion, arguing that Defendants had waived their right to enforce the arbitration clause by engaging in lengthy litigation. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion, concluding, as a matter of law, that a party cannot waive enforcement of an arbitration clause in a contract. The Appellate Court affirmed, concluding that the record was inadequate for review because the trial court failed to make any factual findings on the issue of waiver. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) because the legal basis of the trial court’s decision was at issue, a factual record on the question of waiver was not necessary to review the trial court’s decision; and (2) the trial court based its judgment on an incorrect statement of the law, and therefore, the court erred in granting Defendants’ motion for a stay pending arbitration. View "MSO, LLC v. DeSimone" on Justia Law