Signatories And Non-Signatories Denied Motions To Compel Arbitration


The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and a federal district court in Michigan have each issued opinions on motions to compel arbitration. In the Michigan opinion, the court granted a motion for summary judgment, in favor of the defendant, Consolidated Insurance Company, and denied the plaintiff’s motion to compel arbitration. The plaintiff, the representative of the decedent’s estate, sought to recover uninsured motorist benefits under a commercial vehicle policy issued to decedent’s employer. Prior negotiations between the parties resulted in a written agreement to arbitrate the matter. Before arbitration commenced, the defendants canceled the process, arguing that the issue was not arbitral. The defendant’s cancellation was deemed valid based on intervening caselaw holding that coverage did not extend to individuals injured while outside a vehicle. Since the decedent was outside of his truck at the time he was killed, the issue of coverage could not be arbitrated. Johnston v. Indiana Insurance Co., Case No. 13-10797 (USDC E.D. Mich. Feb 11, 2014).

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s denial to compel arbitration, finding that since none of the defendant board members signed an agreement with an arbitration clause, they could not be compelled to arbitrate. The court further held that the plaintiff’s alternative legal theories to compel arbitration were forfeited or waived. Genberg v. Porter, No. 13-1140 (10th Cir. May 12, 2014).


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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