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BMD Appellate Win Clarifies Waiver of Contractual Right to Arbitrate

Client Alert

Brennan, Manna & Diamond, LLC attorneys David M. Scott, Lucas K. Palmer, and Krista D. Warren prevailed before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit regarding if/when a party waives a contractual right to arbitrate. Borror Property Management, LLC v. Oro Karric North, LLC, No. 20-3146 (the “Decision”).

BMD clients Oro Karric North, LLC and its affiliates (collectively, “Oro”) entered into a property management agreement with Borror Property Management, LLC (“Borror”), in which Borror agreed to manage several apartment properties owned by Oro. The property management agreement stated that, “[i]f either party shall notify the other that any matter is to be determined by arbitration,” the parties would proceed to arbitration unless the matter could be resolved.

Oro came to believe that Borror breached the management agreement, so Oro sent various correspondence and demand letters to Borror prior to filing suit/arbitration (what Judge Readler, author of the Decision, describes as the “legal equivalent of a shot across the bow”). Oro went so far as to threaten litigation. Borror declined to compromise and instead filed suit against Oro in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Oro promptly moved to compel arbitration, but the District Court denied, holding that Oro’s pre-suit threat to litigate constituted a waiver of Oro’s contractual right to require arbitration. Oro appealed.

On appeal, Borror argued that the District Court was correct in deeming Oro’s pre-litigation letters to constitute a waiver of its contractual right to arbitrate. But the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals notes that strong public policy considerations favor arbitration, and “the exchange of letters between parties as a prelude to more formal dispute resolution is a time-honored tradition.” Further noting that Oro almost immediately moved to compel arbitration after the suit was filed, the Sixth Circuit holds that Borror was not prejudiced and sending a pre-suit “posturing” letter does not constitute a waiver.

Takeaway: This significant precedent has already been cited as authoritative in numerous decisions regarding if/when parties waive the right to arbitrate. Knowing how far one may push in negotiations can make the difference between resolution or impasse and help a party control its own destiny in a conflict scenario.

For any litigation or arbitration questions, please contact Litigation Member David Scott at dmscott@bmdllc.com.


The Ohio State University Launches Its Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program

In response to Ohio’s nursing shortage, The Ohio State University College of Nursing is accepting applications for its new Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (aBSN). Created for students with a bachelor’s degree in non-nursing fields, the aBSN allows such students to obtain their nursing degree within 18 months. All aBSN students will participate in high-quality coursework and gain valuable clinical experience. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to take the State Board, National Council of Licensure Exam for Registered Nursing (NCLEX-RN).

Another Transparency Obligation: The FinCEN Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirements

Many physician practices and healthcare businesses are facing a new set of federal transparency requirements that require action now. The U.S. Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirements (the “Rule”), which was promulgated pursuant to the 2021 bipartisan Corporate Transparency Act, is intended to help curb illegal finance and other impermissible activity in the United States.

“In for a Penny, in for a Pound” is No Longer the Case for Florida Lawyers

On April 1, 2024, newly adopted Rule 1.041 to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedures goes into effect which creates a procedure for an attorney to appear in a limited manner in civil proceedings.  Currently, when a Florida attorney appears in a civil proceeding, he or she is reasonable for handling all aspects of the case for their client.  This new rule authorizes an attorney to file a notice limiting the attorney’s appearance to particular proceedings or specified matters prior to any appearance before the court.  For example, an attorney can now appear for the limited purpose of filing and arguing a motion to dismiss.  Once the motion to dismiss is heard by the court, the attorney may file a notice of termination of limited appearance and will have no further obligations in the case.

Enhancing Privacy Protections for Substance Use Disorder Patient Records

On February 8, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) finalized updated rules to 42 CFR Part 2 (“Part 2”) for the protection of Substance Use Disorder (“SUD”) patient records. The updated rules reflect the requirement that the Part 2 rules be more closely aligned with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) privacy, breach notification, and enforcement rules as mandated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020.

Columbus, Ohio Ordinance Prohibits Employers from Inquiries into an Applicant’s Salary History

Effective March 1, 2024, Columbus employers are prohibited from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history. Specifically, the ordinance provides that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice to: