Justia Arbitration & Mediation Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Real Estate & Property Law
Lennar Homes of Tex. Land & Construction, Ltd. v. Whiteley
The Supreme Court reversed in part the opinion of the court of appeals in this interlocutory appeal concerning whether a subsequent purchaser (Purchaser) of a home is required to arbitrate her claims against the builder (Builder) for alleged construction defects, holding that the trial court erred in granting Purchaser's motion to vacate and denying Builder's motion to confirm.The trial court granted the motion to compel arbitration filed by Builder, which joined two subcontractors in the arbitration, asserting that they owed defense and indemnity obligations. The arbitrator issued an award in favor of Builder. The trial court vacated the award against Purchaser but made no ruling whether to vacate the award against the subcontractors. The Supreme Court rendered judgment confirming the award against Purchaser and remanded the case, holding (1) Purchaser was bound by the arbitration clause in the purchase-and-sale agreement under the doctrine of direct-benefits estoppel; and (2) because the record contained no ruling on whether to vacate the award against the subcontractors, remand was required. View "Lennar Homes of Tex. Land & Construction, Ltd. v. Whiteley" on Justia Law
Terrell v. Paradis de Golf Holding, LLC
Appellants Brett and Jenny Terrell appealed a district court’s decision to grant Respondent Paradis de Golf Holding, LLC attorney fees under Idaho Code section 12-120(3). In February 2020, the “Terrells”) sued Paradis for an alleged violation of a recreational easement. In early 2004, Prairie Golf, LLC conveyed to BRMC, LLC a “perpetual, nonexclusive ‘recreational easement’ upon, over, through and across [Prairie Golf’s] property[.]” The easement was appurtenant to and ran with BRMC’s property, which was to be subdivided into 52 single-family residential lots (“the Grayling Estates subdivision”). The easement instrument stated that “each purchaser/owner of a Lot shall be entitled to the benefit of this easement,” which included the ability to play golf for free at a nearby golf course owned at the time by Prairie Golf. In early 2006, the Terrells purchased a home in the Grayling Estates subdivision, which benefitted from the recreational easement. In April 2014, Paradis acquired the golf course subject to the recreational easement. In 2019, Paradis began developing property within the golf course boundary area, which included converting a par five hole to a par three hole and removing a driving range. Paradis then developed residential lots on the excess property where the driving range and part of the par five golf hole used to be. Believing that these developments infringed upon their easement rights, the Terrells sued Paradis. The parties proceeded to arbitration for resolution of their dispute. The arbitrator rendered a decision in Paradis’ favor, finding that none of Paradis’ alterations to the golf course infringed upon the Terrells’ easement rights. Following the arbitration proceedings, Paradis moved for attorney fees under Idaho Code section 12-120(3). The Idaho Supreme Court found the district court erred in concluding that an award of fees was appropriate under section 12-120(3): "Our caselaw is clear that transactions for personal or household purposes do not constitute a commercial transaction for purposes of section 12-120(3)." View "Terrell v. Paradis de Golf Holding, LLC" on Justia Law
Shafer v. Scarborough, et al.
Justin Shafer appealed a district court judgment confirming an arbitration award against Diamond Development & Custom Homes, L.L.C. Shafer argued the district court erred by failing to increase the amount of damages he was awarded. He also argued the North Dakota Supreme Court should narrowly expand the standard for reviewing an arbitration award. The Court declined Shafer’s request to expand the standard of review, and concluded the district court did not err in confirming the arbitration award. View "Shafer v. Scarborough, et al." on Justia Law
Crystal Point Condominium Association, Inc. v. Kinsale Insurance Company
Plaintiff Crystal Point Condominium Association, Inc. obtained default judgments against two entities for construction defect claims. Kinsale Insurance Company was alleged to have insured those entities, under the Direct Action Statute, N.J.S.A. 17:28-2. The relevant policies both contained an arbitration agreement providing in part that “[a]ll disputes over coverage or any rights afforded under this Policy . . . shall be submitted to binding Arbitration.” Crystal Point filed a declaratory judgment action against Kinsale, alleging that it was entitled to recover the amounts owed by the entities under the insurance policies issued by Kinsale. Kinsale asserted that Crystal Point’s claims were subject to binding arbitration in accordance with the insurance policies. Kinsale argued that the Direct Action Statute did not apply because Crystal Point had not demonstrated that neither entity was insolvent or bankrupt. In the alternative, Kinsale contended that even if the statute were to apply, it would not preclude enforcement of the arbitration provisions in the policies. The trial court granted Kinsale’s motion to compel arbitration, viewing the Direct Action Statute to be inapplicable because there was no evidence in the record that either insured was insolvent or bankrupt. An appellate court reversed the trial court’s judgment, finding the evidence that the writs of execution were unsatisfied met the Direct Action Statute’s requirement that the claimant present proof of the insured’s insolvency or bankruptcy and determining that the Direct Action Statute authorized Crystal Point’s claims against Kinsale. The appellate court concluded the arbitration clause in Kinsale’s insurance policies did not warrant the arbitration of Crystal Point’s claims, so it reinstated the complaint and remanded for further proceedings. The New Jersey Supreme Court determined Crystal Point could assert direct claims against Kinsale pursuant to the Direct Action Statute in the setting of this case. Based on the plain language of N.J.S.A. 17:28-2, however, Crystal Point’s claims against Kinsale were derivative claims, and were thus subject to the terms of the insurance policies at issue, including the provision in each policy mandating binding arbitration of disputes between Kinsale and its insureds. Crystal Point’s claims against Kinsale were therefore subject to arbitration. View "Crystal Point Condominium Association, Inc. v. Kinsale Insurance Company " on Justia Law
Gill v. Lockhart
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Robert Gill's motion to enforce a judgment confirming arbitration awards entered against Elizabeth Lockhart, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.Siblings Robert Gill and Lockhart were the beneficiaries of a trust that owned land in Teton County. The trust decided to use the land to create a subdivision. This case concerned an arbitration award contained in an order covering the parties' rights and obligations regarding the subdivision. Gill successfully filed a petition asking the district court to confirm two of the arbitration awards. Thereafter, Gill filed his motion to enforce the judgment. The district court denied the motion, finding that Gill failed to prove some of his damages. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by not allowing Defendant to present certain evidence either at the evidentiary hearing or after the district court announced its oral ruling. View "Gill v. Lockhart" on Justia Law
Rachan Reddy v. Rashid Buttar
Plaintiff, a citizen and resident of Vietnam, initiated arbitration proceedings in Singapore against Defendant, then a citizen and resident of North Carolina regarding a dispute related to a sale of property in the Philippines. Plaintiff obtained a $1.55 million award against Defendant, and then brought this case asking the court to enforce the award. The district court rejected Defendant's jurisdictional challenges and granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff. Defendant appealed.The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting summary judgment to Plaintiff. In so holding, the court rejected Defendant's claim that the district court lacked subject matter and personal jurisdiction, and that the court erred in finding no disputed issues of material fact. View "Rachan Reddy v. Rashid Buttar" on Justia Law
Smith v. Lindemulder
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting a motion to approve a settlement agreement reached in mediation involving siblings Lily Smith and Sam, Dan, and Vernon Lindemulder, holding that Petitioners were not entitled to relief on their claims of error.The agreement at issue resolved claims involving the Alice M. Lindemulder Trust, established by the parties' mother, which held more than 2,000 acres of land in Stillwater County. Sam appealed the district court's decision to approve the settlement agreement, arguing that the agreement was unenforceable because he lacked the capacity to enter it and had been subjected to undue influence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in concluding that Sam validly consented to the agreement; and (2) did not err in holding that the agreement was valid and enforceable. View "Smith v. Lindemulder" on Justia Law
Larmel v. Metro North Commuter Railroad Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court remanding this case to the trial court with direction to render judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff's negligence claim that had previously been the subject of mandatory arbitration in a prior civil action, holding that the appellate court's decision was not in error.Plaintiff brought a personal injury action against Defendant in 2015. Before trial, the parties attended arbitration, and the arbitration found in favor of Defendant. The trial court entered judgment in accordance with the arbitrator's decision. Plaintiff then brought the instant action repeating the allegations of negligence in the first action. The trial court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss on the basis of res judicata. The appellate court affirmed on different grounds, concluding that action was not viable because the action had been tried on its merits by the arbitrator and had resulted in a judgment in favor of Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that appellate court did not err. View "Larmel v. Metro North Commuter Railroad Co." on Justia Law
Hayslip v. U.S. Home Corp.
The Supreme Court held that a deed covenant requiring the arbitration of any dispute arising from a construction defect runs with the land such that it is binding upon a subsequent purchaser of the real estate who was not a party to the deed.The home in this case was constructed and sold by U.S. Home Corp. to the original purchasers. The original deed contained an arbitration provision and several covenants, conditions and restrictions concerning the home that bound both the original purchasers and subsequent purchasers. The original purchasers later sold the home to Plaintiffs, who brought suit against U.S. Home pursuant to Fla. Stat. 553.84. U.S. Home filed a motion to stay and compel arbitration, which the circuit court granted. The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed, concluding that a valid arbitration agreement existed and that it was a covenant running with the land. The Supreme Court approved the decision below, holding that Plaintiffs were bound by the arbitration provision. View "Hayslip v. U.S. Home Corp." on Justia Law
Wynlake Residential Association, Inc, et al. v. Hulsey et al.
Wynlake Residential Association, Inc. ("the homeowners' association"), Wynlake Development, LLC, SERMA Holdings, LLC, Builder1.com, LLC, J. Michael White, Shandi Nickell, and Mary P. White ("the defendants") appealed a circuit court's judgment on an arbitration award entered against them. Because the defendants' appeal was untimely, the Alabama Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. View "Wynlake Residential Association, Inc, et al. v. Hulsey et al." on Justia Law