Justia Arbitration & Mediation Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Montana Supreme Court
Gordon v. Kuzara
Plaintiffs filed suit seeking a judicial resolution of an LLC in which both Plaintiffs and Defendants held ownership interests. The district court ordered judicial dissolution and appointment of a receiver after finding that the managing member of the LLC, one of the defendants, had never operated the LLC in conformity with the operating agreement and had acted in a manner that was unduly prejudicial to Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) there were substantial undisputed facts to support the district court's order for dissolution under Mont. Code Ann. 35-8-902(1), and the district court properly applied the statute; and (2) the district court properly denied Defendants' motion to amend their answer to add counterclaims because Defendants were required to arbitrate such claims under the operating agreement. View "Gordon v. Kuzara" on Justia Law
Graziano v. Stock Farm Homeowners Ass’n., Inc.
Joseph Graziano, an owner of property in the Stock Farm subdivision and a member of the Stock Farm Homeowners Association, filed a complaint against the Association and Stock Farm LLC (SFLLC), asserting several claims, including negligence, breach of fiduciary duties, defamation, and constructive fraud. The Association and SFLLC moved to stay the proceedings and compel arbitration pursuant to a provision of Stock Farm's Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCRs). The district court granted the motion, finding the CCRs were an enforceable agreement to arbitrate all the claims in Graziano's complaint. On review, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the district court did not err in finding the CCRs were not a contract of adhesion and were within Graziano's reasonable expectations, and thus were enforceable; (2) the district court erred in finding Graziano's claim of breach of fiduciary duty was not a personal injury claim exempt from arbitration under Mont. Code Ann. 27-5-114(2)(a); and (3) all of Graziano's remaining claims were subject to the valid and enforceable arbitration provision and must be arbitrated pursuant to the CCRs. Remanded. View "Graziano v. Stock Farm Homeowners Ass'n., Inc." on Justia Law
Kalispell Educ. Ass’n v. Bd. of Trustees, Kalispell High Sch. Dist.
In the fall of 2008 William Hartford, a high school science teacher, was fired after his Montana teaching certificate expired by his inadvertence in failing to renew it. Hartford sought to file a grievance, alleging that he had been terminated without just cause in violation of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) entered into between Kalispell School District (District) and the Kalispell Education Association (KEA). The district superintendent, and later the board of trustees, denied Hartford's request, claiming the matter did not constitute a valid grievance under the CBA on grounds that Hartford was not a member of the bargaining unit at any point during his employment in the fall of 2008 and that he was not a "teacher" as defined under Montana law during his employment in the fall of 2008. Hartford and the KEA filed a petition in the district court to compel arbitration as provided in the CBA. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Hartford and the KEA and ordered the matter submitted to arbitration. The Supreme Court affirmed, concluding that the questions raised by the matter were properly submitted to arbitration.
Colstrip Energy, LP v. Northwestern Corp.
Appellant, a Montana limited partnership which owned an electrical generating plant in Rosebud County, appealed the district court's order denying its motion to vacate the arbitration award ("Final Award") in its dispute with appellee, a Delaware corporation and a regulated public utility conducting business in Montana. At issue was whether the district court abused its discretion when if failed to vacate, modify, or correct the arbitration award. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant's motion where Montana's Uniform Arbitration Act, 27-5-311 MCA, did not permit a court to vacate an arbitration award in part; where Montana law was clear that a non-breaching party was still required to prove its damages; where the district court correctly noted in its order confirming the Final Award that the legal precedent on which appellant relied for its request to modify or correct the Final Award applied only to motions to vacate an award; and where the district court correctly determined that it lacked the authority to vacate the Final Award.