Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

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Brentwood Homes, Inc. and the other appellants in this case (collectively "Brentwood Homes") appealed a circuit court's order denying a motion to stay the proceedings and compel arbitration in a lawsuit filed by Petitioner Fred Bradley that arose out of his purchase of a home in South Carolina. Although Brentwood Homes conceded the Home Purchase Agreement did not meet the technical requirements of the South Carolina Uniform Arbitration Act (the "UAA"), it claimed the court erred in denying the motion because the transaction involved interstate commerce and thus was subject to the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"). Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that because the essential character of the Agreement was strictly for the purchase of a completed residential dwelling and not the construction, the Court found the FAA did not apply. Furthermore, the existence of the national warranty and Bradley's use of out-of-state financing did not negate the intrastate nature of the transaction. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the circuit court's order denying Brentwood Homes' motion to stay the proceedings and compel arbitration as Brentwood Homes failed to offer sufficient evidence that the transaction involved interstate commerce to subject the Agreement to the FAA. View "Bradley v. Brentwood Homes" on Justia Law

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This case returned to the South Carolina Supreme Court from the United States Supreme Court for reconsideration in light of "AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion." The underlying action originally came to the Court on appeal of the trial court's denial of Appellant Century BMW's motion to compel arbitration. The Court affirmed the trial court's denial of the motion to compel. Following that decision, Appellant filed a petition for rehearing, contending the Supreme Court's opinion was inconsistent with the federal Supreme Court's decision in "Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. Animalfeeds International Corp." which found that the federal Arbitration Act preempted South Carolina law. The South Carolina Court emphasized that its opinion was based on state law grounds, and admonished Appellant for "attempting to reframe the issues and miscast [the Court's] holding as disingenuous to the opinion and a holding [it] never made." Thereafter, Appellant petitioned the United States Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. The South Carolina Court's opinion was vacated by the federal Supreme Court and remanded for consideration in light of its decision in "AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion." Respondents Heather Herron and several others "individually and for the benefit of all car buyers who paid 'administrative fees'" argued that the matter of preemption was not preserved in the South Carolina proceedings. The South Carolina Court agreed and therefore adhered to its initial opinion. View "Herron v. Century BMW" on Justia Law

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Gregory and Kerry Brown appealed the circuit court's confirmation of an arbitration award that was granted to their former general contractor C-Sculptures. C-Sculptures built the Browns' house. The Browns claimed C-Sculptures was precluded from enforcing a contract between them because the contractor's license limited the contractor to work totaling $100,000. C-Sculptures' final invoice totaled over $800,000, and when the Browns refused to pay, the contractor placed a lien on their property for the unpaid amount. The arbitrator awarded C-Sculptures the money it was owed, and the Browns appealed the arbitrator's award to the circuit court, arguing that the statutory limit on the contractor's license limited payment to $100,000. On review, the Supreme Court found that the arbitrator followed the statutory scheme to make his determination in favor of the contractor. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the lower court's confirmation of the arbitrator's award.