Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

by
Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Inc. (KSF) and Brantley Dunaway entered into an employment agreement. Two years later, KSF terminated Dunaway’s employment. When KSF informed Dunaway that he was not entitled to a bonus for the 2013 fiscal year, Dunaway filed an action for breach of contract. Nearly one year later, KSF filed a motion for partial summary judgment and declaratory relief, arguing that KSF’s determination that Dunaway was not entitled to a bonus was a binding “arbitration award” issued by an independent accounting firm. The circuit court denied relief, concluding that the employment agreement did not contain an agreement to forgo litigation and arbitrate any bonus dispute. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that no arbitration agreement existed between KSF and Dunaway, and because no arbitration proceeding occurred, there was no arbitration award to be confirmed. View "Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Inc. v. Dunaway" on Justia Law

by
Each of these three consolidated cases originated with the filing of an action in the circuit court asserting claims against nursing home facilities for personal injuries suffered by a nursing home resident, violations of Ky. Rev. Stat. 216.510 et seq., and for wrongful death of the resident. At the time of each resident’s admission to the nursing home, the resident’s attorney-in-fact executed a written document providing that disputes arising out of the relationship between the resident and the nursing home would be submitted to arbitration. When each case was commenced, the defendant nursing home moved the circuit court to compel the parties to submit the claims to a formal arbitration proceeding. The circuit court denied the motion in each case, concluding that the respective power-of-attorney instruments did not authorize the resident’s attorney-in-fact to waive the resident’s right to access to the courts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) without a clear and convincing manifestation of the principal’s intention to do so, delegation to an agent of the authority to waive a trial by jury is not authorized, and the principal’s assent to the waiver is not validly obtained; and (2) the arbitration agreements in these cases were never validly formed. View "Extendicare Homes, Inc. v. Whisman" on Justia Law

by
Each of these three cases originated with actions asserting claims against nursing homes for personal injuries suffered by nursing home residents and for wrongful death of the residents. In each case, an attorney-in-fact for the resident executed a written document upon the resident’s admission to the nursing home providing that claims or disputes would be submitted to arbitration rather than adjudication in the courts. In each case, the defendant nursing home facility filed a motion to dismiss the action and compel the parties to submit the claims to a formal arbitration proceeding. The circuit court denied the motions on the grounds that the arbitration agreements were not validly formed between the respective nursing home facility and the resident whose interests were thereby affected. By way of motions for interlocutory relief, several nursing home entities sought relief from orders refusing to compel arbitration of the disputes. The Supreme Court denied the motions for interlocutory relief, holding that because the power-of-attorney instruments involved in these cases provided no manifestation of the principal’s intent to delegate to his agent the power to waive a trial by jury, the principal’s assent to the waiver was never validly obtained. View "Extendicare Homes, Inc. v. Whisman" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs, a group of Daymar College students, filed a lawsuit against Daymar, challenging the college’s admissions process as both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. Specifically, Plaintiffs challenged the incorporation of an arbitration provision on the reverse side of the Student Enrollment Agreement, claiming they were unaware of the arbitration provision’s existence, let alone its meaning. The trial court refused to compel arbitration, concluding that the arbitration agreement was both procedurally and substantively unconscionable. The Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Daymar’s attempted incorporation was unsuccessful, and therefore, Plaintiffs were not bound by the arbitration provision on the reverse side of the Agreement. View "Dixon v. Daymar Colleges Group, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants alleging fraud, defamation, abuse of process, breach of fiduciary duty, and other claims. Plaintiff also requested declaratory judgment, accounting, and injunctive relief. Pursuant to the parties’ prior agreement, which included an arbitration clause, the trial court granted Defendants’ motion to compel arbitration on all counts with the exception of claims involving defamation and abuse of process. Because Defendants appealed, the trial court refrained from ruling on Plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief. Consequently, Plaintiff petitioned the court of appeals, without success, for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court affirmed. Plaintiff also appealed the trial court’s order compelling arbitration. Plaintiff’s and Defendants’ appeals were consolidated. The court of appeals affirmed the entirety of the trial court’s order compelling arbitration. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the Court lacked jurisdiction to consider the merits of Plaintiff’s appeal because Plaintiff attempted to appeal from a non-final order; and (2) the court of appeals correctly determined that the abuse of process and defamation claims fell outside the agreement to arbitrate. View "Linden v. Griffin" on Justia Law

by
James Taylor sued Chase Bank for failure to comply with the Uniform Commercial Code in regard to a check that had been returned for insufficient funds. The trial court concluded that there was an arbitration agreement between the parties and referred the case to arbitration. The arbitrator later granted Chase’s motion to dismiss the claim because of Taylor’s delay in filing the arbitration claim. Thereafter, the trial court set aside its earlier order finding that an arbitration agreement existed and its referral of the case to arbitration and denied Chase’s motion to confirm the arbitration award. Chase took an interlocutory appeal of the order denying its motion to confirm the arbitration order, arguing that the trial court was bound to confirm the arbitrator’s decision. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court had the authority to set aside the order compelling arbitration after the arbitrator had rendered a dispositive order because the matter was not final and there was insufficient proof of the existence of a valid arbitration agreement. View "JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Bluegrass Powerboats" on Justia Law

by
Brian and Lori Peay purchased a home manufactured by Energy Homes, Division of Southern Energy Homes, Inc. (SEHI). At closing, SEHI offered the Peays certain warranties on the home in exchange for the Peays' agreement that any disputes over the home would be submitted to binding arbitration. Brian Peay accepted the warranties and signed the arbitration agreement. After discovering flaws in the home, the Peays filed suit against SEHI, among other defendants. SEHI moved to enforce the arbitration agreement by ordering the parties to arbitrate the dispute. The circuit court denied the motion. The court of appeals affirmed the order denying enforcement of the arbitration agreement. The Supreme Court reversed, holding, contrary to the findings of the court of appeals, (1) the arbitration agreement was not prohibited by the merger and integration clause of the purchase contract; (2) the arbitration agreement was not unconscionable; and (3) Lori Peay was bound to the arbitration agreement even though she did not sign the agreement. Remanded. View "Energy Home, Div. of S. Energy Homes, Inc. v. Peay" on Justia Law

by
This case arose from the sale of a truck by Appellant to Appellee. The parties executed a document titled "customer sales order" formalizing the deal that contained a binding arbitration provision. The provision failed to require the arbitration to be held in Kentucky but stated that the Federal Arbitration Act (Act) governed its interpretation and enforcement. After the truck was delivered, Appellee filed suit against Appellant, alleging fraud and intentional misrepresentation. The trial court denied Appellant's motion to compel arbitration under the arbitration clause. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Kentucky courts have no jurisdiction to enforce an arbitration agreement unless the agreement provides that the arbitration will occur in Kentucky. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Appellant made a prima facie showing of an agreement requiring arbitration of the dispute between the parties; and (2) because that agreement stated that the Act controls, the circuit court had jurisdiction to enforce it, unless Appellee could meet its burden to show there was no valid agreement. View "MHC Kenworth-Knoxville/Nashville v. M & H Trucking, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Appellants, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed a class action complaint against their Internet service providers (Providers). Providers' Internet service agreement contained an arbitration clause that required customers to submit damage claims against Insight to arbitration, and it barred class action litigation against Providers by their customers. The circuit court determined the class action ban was enforceable and dismissed Appellants' complaint. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the contractual provision under which Appellants waived their right to participate in class action litigation was enforceable under federal law; (2) the service agreement's choice of law provision was not enforceable; (3) the service agreement's general arbitration provision was enforceable; and (4) the provision imposing a confidentiality requirement upon the litigants to arbitration proceedings was void and severable from the remaining portions of the agreement. Remanded for entry of a final judgment. View "Schnuerle v. Insight Commc'ns Co., LP" on Justia Law

by
Appellant Marcus Minix received documents from the county mediator stating that the county court had received a complaint against him for a violation of Ky. Rev. Stat. 514.030 and directing Appellant to mediation. After attending mediation, Appellant was informed he may need to return to mediation. Appellant petitioned the court of appeals for a writ prohibiting the county attorney from referring felony criminal complaints, including a felony complaint against him, to a mediator before presenting the complaints to a district court for review and issuance of a summons or warrant. The court of appeals denied the petition, finding it was without jurisdiction to address Appellant's claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a writ of prohibition may not be issued against non-judicial parties such as the Appellees, the county attorney and the mediator, and the substantive relief Appellant sought was within the original jurisdiction of the circuit court, not the court of appeals. View "Minix v. Roberts" on Justia Law