Residential Real Estate Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Civil Procedure

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Fourth Circuit: Courts, Not Arbitrators, Decide If Arbitration Agreement Authorizes Class-Wide Arbitration

A unanimous panel of the Fourth Circuit has held Del Webb Communities, Inc. v. Carlson that the question whether an arbitration agreement authorizes class-wide arbitration is for the courts, not an arbitrator, to...more

Fourth Circuit Finds Availability Of Class Arbitration Is Question For Courts, Not Arbitrators

Joining the Sixth and Third Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Fourth Circuit this week held that “whether an arbitration clause permits class arbitration is a gateway question of arbitrability for the court.” Dell Web...more

And in this corner: Judicial referees as alternatives to juries in California

More than 10 years ago, California’s highest court held that pre-dispute contractual jury waivers were not enforceable. However, the Court directed contract parties to two safe havens from juries: arbitration and judicial...more

For Whom the Bell Tolls - Only a Complete Litigation Stay Extends the Five Year Rule For Bringing a Case to Trial

On February 25, 2016 the Supreme Court of California in Gaines v. Fidelity National Title Insurance Company, et al. (Court of Appeal B244961, Superior Court Case BC361768), affirmed the lower courts’ holdings that a partial...more

Fannie And Freddie – Newly Implemented Independent Dispute Resolution

On February 2, 2016, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae took another step towards helping sellers of loans manage risk more effectively, and in turn, strengthen the home lending system. Through concurrently released...more

Third Circuit Reaffirms High Burden To Establish Delegation Of Class Arbitrability Determination

Earlier this month, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed its holding that the availability of class arbitration constitutes a question of arbitrability to be decided by courts unless the arbitration agreement...more

Court Of Chancery Explains Arbitration Timelines

This decision explains the timelines for seeking to vacate an arbitration award. It illustrates that an arbitration proceeding has its own rules that the parties better understand or lose their rights....more

Avoiding Gamesmanship in Appointing Appraisal Umpires

Appraisal has long been utilized as a tool for resolution of disputes over the amount of loss at issue in property insurance claims. Unfortunately, the appraisal process has devolved in recent years. What was once considered...more

New York Commercial Division to Tighten Eligibility Requirements For Two Categories of Disputes

Parties and counsel involved in disputes arising out of domestic arbitrations or home improvement contracts soon will have to clear heightened eligibility requirements before being able to proceed in the Commercial Division...more

Washington Supreme Court Clarifies Mandatory Mediation Program Exemption – Holders Score a Washington Victory

The servicer community recently scored an important victory in an opinion issued by the en banc Washington Supreme Court. The decision — Brown v. Wash. State Dep’t. of Commerce, — clarifies the scope of the small lender...more

Utah Legislative Update

The 2015 Legislative Session in Utah came to a close earlier this year and the lien laws once again got a makeover, although not as significant as prior changes the past few years. Prior to this session, the biggest change...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law: June 4, 2015

The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions on June 4, 2015 during its June term. This term resulted in two opinions affecting Virginia local government law. These opinions addressed defamation alleged from statements by a...more

Hawaii Finds Arbitration Agreement With “Severe Limitations on Discovery” is Unconscionable

Hawaii issued a bold arbitration decision this month. It applied its state contract law to conclude that the parties did not form a clear arbitration agreement, but even if they did, it was unconscionable because it...more

Changes to Arizona Purchaser Dwelling Act Affect Sellers and Construction Professionals

In its last session, the Arizona legislature amended the statutes governing Purchaser Dwelling Actions, A.R.S. 12-1361 et seq., and Homeowner Association Dwelling Actions, A.R.S. 33-2001 et seq., relating to claims against...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Rhode Island Superior Court Decision Impacting Servicers

A Rhode Island superior court recently ruled that, pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 34-27-3.2, foreclosing lenders are required to send mediation notices in any foreclosure initiated after the effective date (October 2014)...more

A House of a Different Color: The Changing Role of Appraisal Panels

Minnesota’s severe weather season is here. With that season comes the possibility of hail, heavy rain, lightning, and other weather-related threats that can quickly result in serious property damage to residential and...more

Tennessee Supremes Reject Per Se Unconscionability of Non-Mutual Arbitration Clauses

On June 5, the Tennessee Supreme Court rejected a per se rule of unconscionability for non-mutual arbitration clauses, holding them enforceable if not too-one-sided and commercially reasonable under the...more

Ninth Circuit Directs Court To Vacate Ruling That Disqualified Arbitrator In The Midst Of An Ongoing Arbitration

The dispute at issue in this case involved claims of fraud in the sale of condominium units asserted by unit purchasers against the condominium developer. Arbitration under the AAA was underway between the parties, when it...more

Wisconsin's Supreme Court Creates More Power for the Arbitrator

Most commercial litigators know that a circuit court will enforce an arbitration agreement as long as a given dispute falls within the agreement’s scope. What is or is not within the scope of an agreement, however, has not...more

Court of Appeals Ruling Favors Arbitration of Construction Defect Claims

Finally—there is some good news for developers and general contractors regarding condominium construction defect claims. In a decision issued May 7, 2015, the Colorado Court of Appeals held that construction defect claims by...more

Precedent Set in Colorado Construction Defect Law

On May 7, 2015, less than 24 hours after the Colorado legislative session ended and just over a week after Senate Bill 177, a construction defects reform bill, died in a House committee, the Colorado Court of Appeals issued...more

Construction Defects – Settlement Agreement Bars a Later Suit for Latent Defects

David Belasco v. Gary Loren Wells, et al. - Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (February 17, 2015) - In 2004, David Belasco (“Belasco”) bought a home from general contractor/builder Gary Wells (“Wells”)....more

Appellate Court Notes

SC19216 - Sikorsky Financial Credit Union, Inc. v. Butts - Finally some clarity in rules pertaining to the award of post-judgment interest. Here the (consumer) loan agreement provided that interest would accrue at 9%...more

Second Circuit Un-Vacates Arbitration Award, Finding No Manifest Disregard

The Second Circuit reversed a district court’s vacatur of an arbitration award this week, finding that the arbitration panel did not manifestly disregard the law when it refused the respondent’s reading of a state statute. ...more

Arbitration Denied In Mortgage Life Insurance Dispute Where Neither Note Nor Policy Referenced Arbitration Agreement

A court refused to compel arbitration in a dispute surrounding the cancellation of and failure to pay life insurance benefits under a debtor group life insurance policy. The relevant note and insurance policy did not contain...more

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