Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

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The Federal Arbitration Act does not preempt all state arbitration law. A party alleging an arbitration agreement is unconscionable must demonstrate some quantum of both procedural and substantive unconscionability. A party's failure to clearly object to a defect in arbitration proceedings prior to or during arbitration may constitute a waiver of the objection. Lynne Thompson appealed a district court order compelling arbitration, a judgment confirming the arbitration award, and an order denying her motion to vacate the judgment or for a new trial. Thompson sued Lithia ND Acquisition Corp. #1, seeking to rescind a contract to purchase a vehicle and for damages for unjust enrichment and unlawful sales practices. Lithia moved to dismiss Thompson's complaint and to compel arbitration, arguing there was an enforceable agreement to arbitrate. Thompson responded to the motion, arguing the arbitration agreement was unenforceable and unconscionable and claiming she was entitled to a jury trial on the issue of the enforceability. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed, concluding the district court did not err in compelling arbitration or confirming the arbitrator's award. View "Thompson v. Lithia ND Acquisition Corp. #1" on Justia Law

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26th Street Hospitality, LLP appealed a district court's order granting a motion to compel arbitration; order lifting a stay in the proceedings, confirming the arbitration award, and awarding post-judgment interest; and final judgment. The Partnership argued the district court erred in ordering arbitration because the court was required to determine the validity of the contract before arbitration could be ordered and not all of the claims and parties were subject to arbitration. Finding no reversible error in the district court's judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "26th Street Hospitality v. Real Builders" on Justia Law

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Matthew Viscito, Mary Lynn Berntson, and Florence Properties, LLC (collectively "Viscito") appeal from a district court judgment of dismissal without prejudice, which awarded Kevin Christianson, Pace's Lodging Corporation, Mednational, LLC, Aurora Medical Park No. 2, LLC, and Jeff Sjoquist (collectively "Christianson") attorney's fees and costs. Viscito sued Christianson alleging a number of claims pertaining to an agreement the parties entered to build, own, and lease a hospital. Christianson moved to compel arbitration, contending the agreement required that Viscito's claims be resolved through arbitration. The district court granted the motion to compel arbitration and ordered the parties complete arbitration within six months from the date of the order. Viscito moved for an extension of time to complete arbitration. Christianson moved to dismiss with prejudice and requested an award of attorney's fees and costs. The district court held a hearing on the motions; at the conclusion, the district court ruled from the bench that the case be dismissed without prejudice and awarded Christianson reasonable attorney's fees and costs. The district court requested Christianson submit an itemized billing statement of its attorney's fees, so the court could determine the reasonableness of the fees. Christianson submitted an affidavit requesting $33,405.14, the full amount of fees and costs it had incurred defending the entire case, along with itemized billing statements documenting the work performed from July 6, 2012, to April 7, 2014, totaling the amount requested. The district court dismissed the case without prejudice and awarded Christianson $33,405.14 in attorney's fees and costs. Viscito appealed, arguing the district court abused its discretion in awarding Christianson all of its costs and attorney's fees incurred throughout the case because the court misinterpreted the rules authorizing sanctions. The Supreme Court agreed with Viscito, reversed and remanded the case for recalculation of the fees. View "Viscito v. Christianson" on Justia Law