Articles Posted in Arbitration & Mediation

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This labor dispute arose out of a negotiation between the State and other governmental entities (collectively, the State) and United Public Workers (UPW) regarding the renewal and modification of a collective bargaining agreement. The State and UPW failed to reach an agreement, and the case proceeded to arbitration. Because the parties were unable to select a neutral arbitrator, the Hawai’i Labor Relations Board (HLRB) ordered the American Arbitration Association to select the neutral arbitrator. Both parties challenged the actions of the HLRB. The circuit court affirmed the HLRB’s rulings. On appeal, UPW asserted that the circuit court had jurisdiction to resolve the dispute regarding the selection of the arbitrator. The Intermediate Court of Appeals disagreed, determining that HLRB had exclusive original jurisdiction under Haw. Rev. Stat. 89-14. UPW appealed, arguing that the circuit court had jurisdiction over the dispute regarding selection of the arbitrator under Haw. Rev. Stat. 658A. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the HLRB had jurisdiction to resolve the dispute over the selection of the arbitrator under chapter 89, as the arbitration was required by statute as part of the legislatively mandated process for resolving impasses in collective bargaining; and (2) chapter 658A was not applicable to this case. View "State v. Nakaneula" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, individually and on behalf of all persons similarly situated, filed a first amended class action complaint alleging that Gentry Homes, Ltd. constructed Plaintiffs’ home without adequate high wind protection. Gentry filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to a provision in the Home Builder’s Limited Warranty (HBLW) between Gentry and Plaintiffs. The circuit court ordered Plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims against Gentry but severed and struck an arbitrator-selection provision for potential conflict of interest. The intermediate court of appeals concluded that the circuit court should have enforced the HBLW’s arbitrator-selection provision. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment and affirmed the circuit court orders, holding (1) the ICA erred in required a party challenging an arbitrator-selection provision to show evidence of “actual bias”; and (2) in resolving a challenge to an arbitrator-selection provision, the “fundamental fairness” standard should be applied, and under this standard, the arbitrator-selection provision was fundamentally unfair. View "Nishimura v. Gentry Homes, Ltd." on Justia Law

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The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) filed a grievance against the University Laboratory School (ULS), alleging that the ULS refused to implement the proper salary placement for teachers as agreed to in a supplemental agreement negotiated by the HSTA and the Hawaii Board of Education. The ULS argued that the step placement chart the HSTA sought to enforce had never been agreed upon or incorporated into the agreement. The HSTA subsequently filed a grievance and a motion to compel arbitration of its grievance. The circuit court denied the HSTA’s motion to compel arbitration. The intermediate court of appeals concluded that the circuit court did not err in denying HSTA’s motion, determining that the Hawaii Labor Relations Board had primary jurisdiction over the issues raised in the HSTA’s grievance and that the HSTA’s motion to compel arbitration was premature. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment, holding that because the parties agreed to leave questions of arbitrability to the arbitrator, the circuit court erred in refusing to grant the HSTA’s motion to compel arbitration after concluding that an arbitration agreement existed. Remanded. View "Haw. State Teachers Ass’n v. Univ. Lab. Sch." on Justia Law

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The Waikoloa Beach Villas condominium project was developed by Respondent, Sunstone Waikoloa, LLC. Petitioner, the Association of Apartment Owners of the Waikoloa Beach Villas, contacted Respondent to resolve issues resolving purported construction defects. Petitioner then filed a motion to compel mediation and arbitration. Respondent argued that it could not request arbitration because it had failed to comply with the requirements of the Declaration of Condominium Property Regime for the Villas. The Declaration imposed numerous requirements that Petitioner must meet before initiating arbitration or litigation proceedings against Respondent. The lower court granted Petitioner's motion. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) reversed. The Supreme Court vacated in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the ICA, holding that section R.4(c) of the Declaration violated Haw. Rev. Stat. 514B-105(a) because it imposed limitations on Petitioner in arbitration or litigation more restrictive than those imposed on other persons. Remanded.View "Ass'n of Apartment Owners of Waikoloa Beach Villas v. Sunstone Waikoloa, LLC" on Justia Law

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Respondent awarded Petitioner a contract to develop an affordable housing development project. The parties entered into a development services agreement (DSA) that contained a provision stating that the parties would proceed to arbitration under state law in the event of a dispute. Petitioner was subsequently terminated from the project. Respondent filed a complaint against Petitioner asserting several causes of action, including intentional misrepresentation and negligence. Petitioners counterclaimed. Petitioners later filed an arbitration motion, which the circuit granted. The intermediate court of appeals denied Petitioners' motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated in part, holding (1) the order compelling arbitration in this case was sufficiently final under the collateral order doctrine to be appealable under the general civil matters appeal statute; (2) the scope of the arbitration clause contained in the DSA encompassed all claims of Respondent and counterclaims of Petitioners; and (3) the circuit court correctly granted the motion to compel alternative dispute resolution and to stay proceedings. Remanded.View "County of Hawaii v. UniDev, LLC" on Justia Law

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Respondents in this case included Kaiser Foundation Health and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (collectively, Kaiser). Michael Siopes, a public school teacher, enrolled in a Kaiser health plan offered through the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF). Michael was later diagnosed with cancer by a Kaiser medical professional. Michael and his wife, Lacey, subsequently consulted a medical team at Duke University Medical Center. The Duke team determined that Kaiser's diagnosis was erroneous and recommended a different treatment plan. Michael received treatment at Duke that was ultimately successful. Kaiser denied Michael's request for coverage. Michael and Lacey sued Kaiser for, among other things, breach of contract and medical malpractice. Kaiser filed a motion to compel arbitration, arguing that a group agreement entered into Kaiser and the EUTF was applicable to Michael when he signed the enrollment form. The group agreement contained an arbitration provision. The circuit court granted the motion to compel arbitration. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court's orders, holding (1) the arbitration provision was unenforceable based on the lack of an underlying agreement between Kaiser and Michael to arbitrate; and (2) accordingly, Lacey was also not bound to arbitrate her claims in this case. View "Siopes v. Kaiser Found. Health Plan, Inc." on Justia Law