Court Compels Arbitration To Determine The Arbitrability Of Reinsurance Dispute With Captive Insurance Company

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In a suit by an auto body company against a captive insurance company for rescission of certain workers compensation reinsurance participation agreements, for disgorgement of $70,000 paid thereunder, and for fraud, breach of contract, and unfair business practices, the court compelled arbitration of all claims. The auto body company argued that arbitration should not be compelled because a clause within the arbitration agreement stated that it was “only intended to provide a mechanism for resolving accounting disputes in good faith” (the dispute here did not involve an accounting dispute). The court, however, interpreted the entire arbitration agreement to find that the agreement “was intended to govern all disputes arising from the parties’ commercial transaction, not merely accounting disputes.” The court further found that the language in the arbitration agreement providing that the arbitrator would decide the “construction and enforceability” of the agreement delegated to the arbitrator the threshold question of whether the dispute was arbitrable. The court bolstered this finding by holding that the agreement’s incorporation of the AAA Rules, which provide that parties must arbitrate the arbitrability of a dispute, is another “clear and unmistakable delegation provision.” Accordingly, the court delegated to the arbitrator the auto body company’s contentions that the reinsurance agreements were unlawful and that a condition precedent to arbitration had not been satisfied. Mike Rose’s Auto Body, Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Co., Case No. 16-cv-01864 (USDC N.D. Cal. Sept. 28, 2016).

 


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