Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the court of appeals dismissing the appeal of an order of the circuit court denying a request to compel arbitration and stay a pending lawsuit pending arbitration, holding that a circuit court order denying a request to compel arbitration and stay a pending lawsuit is final for the purposes of appeal. Respondent, a mentally disabled resident of Appellant, which owned and operated residential facilities, brought this lawsuit over an incident in which one of Appellant's employees sexually assaulted her. Respondent, however, had signed an arbitration agreement with Appellant, and Appellant filed a motion to compel arbitration and stay the proceedings pending the arbitration. The circuit court denied the motion, and Appellant appealed. Respondent moved to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because the order was not a final and appealable order. The court of appeals granted the motion. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) an application to stay pursuant to Wis. Stat. 788.02 is a special proceeding within the meaning of Wis. Stat. 808.03(1); and (2) a circuit court order that disposes of the entire matter in litigation between one or more parties in a section 788.02 special proceeding is final for the purposes of appeal. View "L. G. v. Aurora Residential Alternatives, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the decision of the circuit court ordering the arbitration of a private construction dispute stayed, holding that the circuit court lacked the authority to issue the order staying the arbitration. In this private construction dispute, the circuit court ordered arbitration stayed until the court could decide an insurance coverage dispute between one of the contractors connected to the arbitration and the contractor’s insurer. CityDeck Landing LLC petitioned the Supreme Court for a supervisory writ asking the Court to exercising its superintending constitutional authority to vacate the circuit court’s order. The Supreme Court granted the writ, holding that the circuit court exceeded its jurisdiction by putting the private arbitration on hold. View "State ex rel. CityDeck Landing LLC v. Circuit Court for Brown County" on Justia Law

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At issue was the circuit court’s role in determining the proper forum of dispute resolution when a subsequent contract, if enforceable, does not contain an arbitration clause that is present in an initial contract. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the non-final order of the circuit court denying a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to the initial agreement in this case, as well as the circuit court’s granting of a motion for declaratory judgment that the subsequent agreement was a valid contract, holding that, if valid, the subsequent agreement released certain parties from the agreement to arbitrate contained in the initial agreement, and the cause must be remanded to determine whether the subsequent agreement was a valid contract. The circuit court concluded that even though the initial agreement required arbitration, it was superseded by the subsequent agreement, which did not require the parties to submit to arbitration. The court of appeals concluded that arbitration was required pursuant to the initial agreement. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, the determination of arbitrability must be decided by the circuit court rather than an arbitrator and that genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether the subsequent agreement was a valid contract. View "Midwest Neurosciences Associates, LLC v. Great Lakes Neurosurgical Associates, LLC" on Justia Law

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An arbitration panel ordered James Graham to pay First Weber Group Inc. for a disputed real estate brokerage commission. Graham failed to pay, and First Weber filed an action to confirm the arbitration award. The circuit court ordered Graham to pay First Weber the commission awarded in the arbitration but denied First Weber’s request for costs and reasonable attorney’s fees, concluding that no costs may be awarded when confirming an arbitration award. Thereafter, First Weber filed an arbitration request with the Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin, Inc., of which Graham was a member, asking the Association to arbitrate the dispute over costs and reasonable attorney’s fees because judicial confirmation of the commission award was necessary. Graham refused to attend the arbitration hearing. First Weber subsequently filed a petition to compel arbitration of the dispute regarding fees and costs. The circuit court denied the petition, concluding that First Weber’s arbitration request was untimely. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that under the arbitration agreement, Graham’s timeliness and estoppel defenses against arbitration are to be determined in the arbitration proceedings, not by a court in a proceeding to compel arbitration, and therefore, Graham has not overcome the presumption in favor of arbitration. View "First Weber Group, Inc. v. Synergy Real Estate Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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This case arose from territory-related disputes between two franchisees, Paul Davis Restoration of S.E. Wisconsin, Inc. (Southeast) and Paul Davis Restoration of Northeast Wisconsin (Northeast). The results of an arbitration process included an award for Southeast against Northeast, which is the name under which EA Green Bay, LLC (Green Bay) did business. Green Bay opposed the subsequent garnishment action on the grounds that the judgment, entered against Northeast only, was unenforceable. The circuit court held that any valid judgment against Northeast was also enforceable against Green Bay. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) if the name under which a person or corporation does business is simply another way to refer to a single legal entity and constitutes no entity distinct from the person or corporation who does business, then a judgment against the "doing business as" or "d/b/a" name is enforceable against the legal entity from which it is indistinct; and (2) therefore, the judgment against Green Bay's d/b/a designation, Northeast, was enforceable against Green Bay.View "Paul Davis Restoration of Se. Wis., Inc. v. Paul Davis Restoration of Ne. Wis." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a claim with their insurer (Insurer) for underinsured motorist benefits after a car accident. Pursuant to a provision of the insurance policy, the parties submitted the dispute to an arbitration panel. Prior to the arbitration hearing, Insurer sought broad discovery under Wis. Stat. 804. Plaintiffs refused to comply with such discovery on the grounds that Wis. Stat. 788.07 controlled and permitted only the taking of certain depositions. The arbitration panel decided that Insurer was entitled to chapter 804 discovery. The circuit court reversed and directed that arbitration discovery would proceed as allowed by section 788.07. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Plaintiffs were not allowed to seek an interlocutory appeal, and that full chapter 804 discovery was available to Insurer. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) because no unusual circumstances justified an interlocutory appeal, Plaintiffs' action in the circuit court was premature; and (2) because Insurer failed to include an explicit, specific, and clearly drafted arbitration clause stating otherwise, discovery in this case was limited to that provided for in section 788.07. Remanded.View "Marlowe v. IDS Prop. Cas. Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Insured, who was injured, submitted a claim to Insurer under her underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage after exhausting the policy limits of the underinsured motorist. An arbitration panel concluded that the court of appeals decision in Heritage Mutual v. Graser precluded Insured from recovering under her UIM coverage the value of medical expenses that were written off by her medical provider. The circuit court modified the arbitration award to include the reasonable value of the written-off medical expenses. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the arbitration panel's decision in this case was properly modified by the circuit court because the arbitrators exceeded their authority by failing to fully review the Court's decisions on the collateral source rule and the law of damages. The Court overruled Graser to the extent that it held that the collateral source rule had no application in cases involving UIM coverage, because according to precedent, an injured party is entitled to recover the reasonable value of medical services, which, under the operation of the collateral source rule, includes written-off medical expenses. View "Orlowski v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co." on Justia Law