Construction Defect Journal Archives

Don’t Waive Your Right to Arbitrate (Unless You Want To!)

October 19, 2017
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

Does your construction contract require you to arbitrate (instead of litigate) disputes arising out of the contract? If so, and you want to arbitrate, you do NOT want to do anything inconsistent or adverse with your right to arbitrate. Arbitration can be waived and you do not want arbitration to be waived if you believe this is the best forum to resolve your construction dispute. For instance, actively participating in a lawsuit through the prosecution or defense of issues in the lawsuit is certainly inconsistent with your right to arbitrate. This will result in a waiver of your right to compel arbitration.

In a non-construction dispute—a dispute involving a law firm and its former partner—the law firm sued the partner. Chaikin v. Parker Waichman LLP, 42 Fla. L. Weekly D2165b (Fla. 2d DCA 2017). There was a partnership agreement that required disputes to be resolved by arbitration. The law firm sued the partner claiming he violated a previously entered employment agreement that did not require arbitration. When the partner counterclaimed, the law firm claimed that the counterclaim must be compelled to arbitration because the counterclaim arose out of the partnership agreement that required arbitration. Guess what? The trial court actually compelled the counterclaim to arbitration! Crazy! Clearly, any employment agreement and partnership agreement were intertwined such that the dispute would involve the same set of facts and any claims would have a significant relationship to the partnership agreement.

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dadelstein@gmail.com



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