According to the Florida Court of Appeals, a party, by filing an answer and participating in minimal discovery, did not waive its right to compel arbitration. What seems to have determinatively impacted the outcome, in Performance Air Mechanical, Inc. v. Miller Construction Services, Inc., is the failure of the opposing party to “file an answer brief in this appeal, leaving Performance Air’s arguments unrebutted.”
In Doe v. TCSC, LLC, d/b/a Hendrick Toyota of North Charleston, the South Carolina Court of Appeals punted to an arbitrator to decide whether a car dealer’s broad arbitration provision encompasses events arising four-and-a-half years after Jane Doe purchased her car. The factual context, as described by the court: “Doe returned to the dealership to have the car serviced. She also spoke with a salesman about trading in her 2011 car for a new one. Despite the salesman’s persistent pitches, Doe decided to buy elsewhere. The rebuffed salesman, for reasons known only to him, sought revenge by posting an ad posing as Doe on a sexually explicit website, together with Doe’s contact information. Minutes later, Doe began receiving strange telephone calls and text messages, some of which were sexually suggestive.”
“We conclude substantial evidence supported the trial court’s determination that Defendants waived their right to arbitrate the dispute.” So concludes a California Court of Appeal in T&S Therapy Centre International, Inc. v. Apex Dental Sleep Lab Incorporated.
Against a fact pattern that will make your head spin, a three judge Pennsylvania panel in Wallace v. State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance has affirmed a sua sponte award of attorneys’ fees against a party whose attorney raised “vexatious and obdurate” challenges to the arbitrator’s participation.
The United States District Court (Minnesota) on June 29, 2020 denied CenturyLink’s motion to disqualify a law firm that it contends sought to undermine a class action settlement by encouraging the class members to pursue individual arbitration claims (MDL 17-2795 (MJD/KMM). As the court held, “[o]verall, the Court finds that CenturyLink lacks standing to assert its motion for disqualification. Additionally, … the Court concludes that, overall, any harm to the administration of justice in this case is speculative and does not support the Court acting sua sponte to disqualify Keller and deny its clients their choice of counsel…”
An employer who obtained a favorable arbitration decision in an employee matter failed to seek judicial confirmation of the award, thus no final judgment entered. Under California law, the absence of a judgment precluded the employee from appealing the lower court’s denial of his motion to vacate the award. Baah v. Sentinel Consumer Services, Inc.
In Chinlund v. Heffernan Builders, LLC, an Illinois appellate court held that, while it was appropriate for the trial court to affirm an arbitration award, it erred in entering judgment on a count for fraud when the award did not specifically attribute the award to the fraud count.