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One Court of Justice Blog

Mar 2016
March 05, 2016

COA holds that arbitrators, not Michigan courts, will decide whether to consolidate arbitrations, unless the parties agreed otherwise

Whether to allow consolidation of arbitrations is not a question Michigan courts must decide, according to a recent opinion in Lauren Bienenstock & Assocs. v. Lowry, No. 323986.  Unless the parties have agreed that a court will decide the issue, arbitrators have sole authority to decide whether to administratively consolidate multiple arbitrations.  The same is not true for arbitration as a class.  According to the Court of Appeals, whether to allow class arbitration is still considered a “gateway” issue to be decided by the courts.

Nov 2015
November 15, 2015

MSC grants MOAA to consider scope of law firm's own arbitration clause

In Altobelli v. Hartmann, No. 150656, the Michigan Supreme Court scheduled mini-oral argument to address whether a mandatory arbitration clause in a firm’s operating agreement is applicable to claims directed at individual members rather than the entire firm.

May 2015
May 25, 2015

COA reiterates the finality of arbitration awards

In Fette v Peters Construction Co., No. 320803, the Court of Appeals held that when there is no procedural error in an arbitration hearing, and the arbitrator did not exceed his or her powers, nor prejudice the rights of a party, the courts will not vacate an arbitration award. The Court also held that a subpoena can be quashed when the witness is asked to testify to information the requesting party already knows itself. The Court also addressed awarding attorney fees and costs at both the trial and appellate level:  An unsuccessful complaint to vacate an arbitration award can still be made in good faith, particularly when there inadequate case law on the matter; and appellate costs cannot be awarded under MCL 600.2591, which only applies to the trial level, but may be awarded under MCR 7.216(C) if properly requested on a separate motion.

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