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Fellows v. Sundahl

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

November 28, 2016

RANDY FELLOWS, Plaintiff,
v.
DAN R. SUNDAHL et al., Defendants.

          Paul M. Warner District Judge

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          PAUL M. WARNER United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the court is a motion by defendants Belsen Getty, LLC and Terry M. Deru (collectively the “BG Defendants”) to compel arbitration and stay litigation as to the BG Defendants.[1] Plaintiff Randy Fellows failed to respond to the motion. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiffs' motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUD

         Of relevance here, Plaintiff signed an Investment Management Agreement (the “Agreement”) on behalf of Randy Fellows Construction and as trustee of Randy Fellows Construction Employment Retirement Plan.[2] The Agreement includes a broadly worded arbitration provision:

lf at any time during the term of the Agreement any question, disagreement, difference or controversy shall rise among the parties hereto regarding the meaning or interpretation of this Agreement or any rights, duties, or obligations of the parties hereunder, whether factual. technical, legal, equitable, or otherwise. such question, disagreement, difference, or controversy shall be submitted to and determined by arbitration in accordance with this Section.[3]
In July 2016, Plaintiffs filed the current action against the BG Defendants and others.[4]

         The claims against other defendants appear to arise from distinct agreements.

         ANALYSIS

         The Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., establishes a strong federal policy in favor of compelling arbitration. See Southland Corp. v. Keating, 465 U.S. 1, 11 (1984); Sandvik AB v. Advent Int'l Corp., 220 F.3d 99, 104 (3d Cir. 2000). The FAA states:

A written provision in any maritime transaction or a contract evidencing a transaction involving commerce to settle by arbitration a controversy thereafter arising out of such contract or transaction, or the refusal to perform the whole or any part thereof, [ . . . ] shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.

9 U.S.C. § 2 (emphasis added).

         The FAA “establishes that, as a matter of federal law, any doubts concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be resolved in favor of arbitration, whether the problem at hand is the construction of the contract language itself or an allegation of waiver, delay, or a like defense to arbitrability.” Moses H. Cone Mem'l Hosp. v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24 (1983). “If the allegations underlying the claims touch matters covered by the parties' arbitration agreement, then those claims must be arbitrated, whatever the legal labels attached to them.” Chelsea Family Pharmacy, PLLC v. Medco Health Sols., Inc., 567 F.3d 1191, 1198 (10th Cir 2009). “[T]he party resisting arbitration bears the burden of proving that the claims at issue are unsuitable for arbitration.” Green Tree Fin. Corp.-Alabama v. Randolph, 531 U.S. 79, 81 (2000).

         Where an arbitration provision is broad, “there arises a presumption of arbitrability and arbitration of even a collateral matter will be ordered if the claim alleged implicates issues of contract construction or the parties' rights and obligations under it.” Cummings v. FedEx Ground Package Sys., Inc., 404 F.3d 1258, 1261 (10th Cir. 2005) (citing ...


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