Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

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In 2012, a fire destroyed three buildings and related equipment that were owned by Jackson Hop, LLC, and were used to dry hops, to process and bale hops, and to store hop bales. The buildings were insured by Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Idaho for the actual cash value of the buildings and equipment, not to exceed the policy limit. Farm Bureau’s appraisers determined that the actual cash value of the buildings was $295,000 and the value of the equipment was $85,909. Farm Bureau paid Jackson Hop $380,909. Jackson Hop disagreed with that figure, and it hired its own appraiser, who concluded that the actual cash value of the buildings and equipment totaled $1,410,000. Farm Bureau retained another appraiser to review the report of Jackson Hop’s appraiser, and that appraiser concluded that the value of $1,410,000 was unrealistically high. Jackson Hop filed this action to recover the balance of what it contended was owing under the insurance policy, plus prejudgment interest. The parties agreed to submit the matter to arbitration as provided in the policy. During that process, Jackson Hop presented additional opinions regarding the actual cash values, ranging from $800,000 to $1,167,000 for the buildings and $379,108 to $399,000 for the equipment. Farm Bureau’s experts revised their opinions upward, although only from $295,000 to $333,239 for the buildings and from $85,909 to $133,000 for the equipment. Before completion of the arbitration, Farm Bureau paid an additional sum of $85,330. Arbitrators determined that the actual cash value of the buildings and the equipment was $740,000 and $315,000, respectively, for a total of $1,055,000. Within seven days of the arbitrators’ decision, Farm Bureau paid Jackson Hop $588,761, which was the amount of the arbitrators’ award less the prior payments. Jackson Hop filed a motion asking the district court to confirm the arbitrators’ award and to award Jackson Hop prejudgment interest, court costs, and attorney fees. Farm Bureau filed an objection to the request for court costs, attorney fees, and prejudgment interest. The court awarded Jackson Hop attorney fees, but denied the request for court costs because the parties’ arbitration agreement stated that both parties would pay their own costs, and the court denied the request for prejudgment interest because the amount of damages was unliquidated and unascertainable by a mathematical process until the arbitrators’ award. Jackson Hop then appealed. Finding no reversible error in the trial court's judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Jackson Hop v. Farm Bureau Insurance" on Justia Law

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The issue on appeal before the Supreme Court in this case was a trial court's order denying a motion to compel nonparties to a contract to arbitrate pursuant to an arbitration clause in the contract. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Clearwater REI v. Boling" on Justia Law

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The issue on appeal to the Supreme Court in this case stemmed from district court decisions regarding an uninsured motorist claim between Plaintiffs-Appellants Sam and Deva Ferrell and Defendant-Respondent United Financial Casualty Company (United Financial, d.b.a. Progressive Insurance Company). The parties underwent arbitration, and the Ferrells subsequently filed a petition that sought confirmation of the arbitration award and an award of costs and attorney fees. The district court ordered confirmation of the arbitration award and interest based upon an agreement of the parties. On the issue of attorney fees, the district court found that arbitration began five months prior to the amendment of I.C. 41-1839 which explicitly allowed attorney fees in arbitration, and therefore the statute as it existed did not provide for attorney fees in this case. The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded the case back to the district court. View "Ferrell v. United Financial Casualty Co." on Justia Law

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Richard and Lisa Keane and the companies they managed, and Bald, Fat & Ugly, LLC (BFU) had a disagreement arising from a development deal involving the Houston Professional Plaza. They went to mediation, but the parties had a disagreement regarding the terms of the mediated agreement. They then turned to arbitration. The arbitrator granted two awards in favor of BFU. The award did not specify any date by which the Keanes were to pay the money, nor did the award include interest. The district court confirmed the arbitration awards, and issued a writ of execution. The sheriff returned the writ not satisfied. BFU then obtained an order for a debtor's examination. A partial satisfaction of judgment was made, but the Keanes did not direct how the payment made was to be applied to the two arbitration awards. BFU applied the partial satisfaction to one of the awards, and filed a motion to have the Keanes held in contempt for failing to pay the second. The Keanes challenged the contempt action. The Supreme Court, after its review of the matter, found that because the order confirming the arbitration award did not require the Keanes to do anything and because contempt cannot be used to enforce payment of the debt in this case, the Court reversed the judgment of the district court finding them in contempt and the order later entered awarding the respondent attorney fees and court costs. View "Bald, Fat & Ugly v. Keane" on Justia Law