Crouch Construction v. Causey

This dispute arose from the construction of a commercial building. Before the property was purchased, Respondent Bryan Causey hired GS2 Engineering and Environmental Consulting, Inc. (GS2) to perform an engineering analysis of the soils on the property to determine whether the land was suitable for construction. Causey formed Causey Consulting, LLC (of which he was the sole member), and Causey Consulting purchased the property to construct the commercial building. Appellant Crouch Construction Company was retained as the general contractor. The parties' dispute began over the amount of unsuitable soils excavated from the building site: during construction, it became apparent that more unsuitable soil needed to be removed than was initially anticipated, and the removal of additional soil increased the cost of the project. The construction project was substantially completed then occupied by Respondent Celebrations of Columbia, LLC, of which Causey is also a member. When Appellant did not receive final payment for the work, it filed a mechanic's lien and a suit to foreclose the lien. The circuit court ordered arbitration pursuant to an arbitration clause in the construction contract. The arbitrator determined Appellant was owed money under the contract, plus interest, attorney's fees and costs. Respondents moved to vacate the award, seeking to have it set aside based on several unfavorable evidentiary rulings and general allegations that the arbitrator manifestly disregarded the law. The circuit court denied Respondents' motion. However, before an order was entered, Respondents learned that an engineer employed by GS2 was the brother of one of the arbitrator's law partners. Respondents filed a supplemental motion to vacate the arbitration award, reiterating their previous arguments and raising several new claims, citing the arbitrator's failure to disclose his law partner's relationship with an employee of GS2. The circuit court found that vacatur was warranted, and , the circuit court held the award should be set aside. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the arbitrator was not evidently partial towards GS2 or either party. Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded the case to the circuit court for confirmation of the arbitration award. View "Crouch Construction v. Causey" on Justia Law