Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the circuit court denying Defendant’s motion to compel arbitration, holding that the circuit court erred in denying the motion for arbitration because the parties’ disagreements were controversies arising out of or relating to their contract, and therefore, pursuant to the contract, an arbitrator must resolve them. Plaintiffs sued Defendant, alleging that the home Defendant constructed for Plaintiffs suffered from defects that caused damage to the home. Defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration under the arbitration clause of the parties’ contract. The circuit court denied the motion, concluding that the arbitration clause was unenforceable. The supreme Court reversed, holding that the parties’ disagreement over the interpretation of the arbitration clause, as well as the application of the doctrine of impossibility to the arbitration clause, were “controvers[ies] arising out of or relating to the contract,” and therefore, the circuit court erred in refusing to compel arbitration. View "Brush Arbor Home Construction, LLC v. Alexander" on Justia Law

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In this appeal of a judgment confirming an arbitration award, the Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not err in refusing to vacate the arbitration award under Va. Code 8.01-581.010. Plaintiff filed a fourteen-count complaint against Defendants alleging liability theories for conspiracy, conversion, legal malpractice, breach of trust, and other causes of action. Defendants moved to have the dispute submitted to arbitration pursuant to an arbitration provision in an agreement between the parties. The circuit court granted the motion to compel arbitration, and the arbitrators found in favor of Defendants on all counts. The circuit court confirmed the award in its entirety and denied Plaintiff’s application to vacate the award. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no basis in law or fact for reversing the circuit court’s confirmation of the arbitration award. View "Meuse v. Henry" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff worked for the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) before being discharged for violating ARHA’s “absenteeism and tardiness policies.” Plaintiff filed a complaint in circuit court claiming that she had been improperly discharged. The circuit court denied Plaintiff’s request for reinstatement and her claim for money damages but held that Plaintiff was entitled to have her claims arbitrated under ARHA’s grievance procedure. The Supreme Court reversed and entered final judgment in favor of ARHA, holding that the circuit court misapplied Va. Code 15.2-1507(A)(7)(b) and erred in ordering ARHA to arbitrate Plaintiff’s grievance. View "Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Auth. v. Walker" on Justia Law

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In 2007, Schuiling hired Harris as his full-time, live-in housecleaner. Harris signed an arbitration agreement, a one-page, pre-printed form prepared for Schuling’s auto business, stating that disputes “shall be resolved exclusively by arbitration administered by the National Arbitration Forum under its code of procedure then in effect.” In 2011, Harris sued Schuiling, alleging multiple torts, statutory violations, and breach of contract. Schuiling moved to enforce arbitration under Code § 8.01-581.02(A), stating that the National Arbitration Forum was no longer available and requesting the court to appoint a substitute arbitrator under Code § 8.01-581.03. Harris argued that unavailability of the named arbitrator, coupled with the agreement’s failure to provide for a substitute arbitrator, rendered the agreement unenforceable. The circuit court agreed with Harris and denied the motion to compel arbitration. The Virginia Supreme Court reversed. Relying on the intention of the parties as expressed in the language of the agreement, the court concluded that NAF’s designation as arbitrator was not integral and was severable in order to give effect to the arbitration requirement, the sole purpose of the agreement. View "Schuiling v. Harris" on Justia Law

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After Roger Hudspeth's employment with the Bank of the Commonwealth was terminated, Hudspeth filed a complaint against the Bank, alleging the Bank failed to pay him compensation owed for his employment. The Bank filed a motion to stay and compel arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), arguing (1) the Bank was a "customer" as defined by the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes (Customer Code), (2) Hudspeth was an associated person of a "member," and (3) because the dispute was between a customer and an associated person of a member, arbitration was mandatory under the Customer Code. The circuit court denied the Bank's motion, concluding that the Bank was not a customer under the Customer Code. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Customer Code was susceptible to an interpretation under which the Bank could be considered a customer, and (2) because under the Federal Arbitration Act any doubts concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be resolved in favor of arbitration, the circuit court erred when it denied the Bank's motion in this case. Remanded. View "Bank of the Commonwealth v. Hudspeth" on Justia Law