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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.


Valley National Bank/Trulieve Loan: A Big Step Out of the Shadows

In a late December press release, Trulieve announced that it had secured a $71.5 million commercial bank loan. In addition to the amount of the loan, which may be the largest commercial bank loan to date to a cannabis company, the release prominently identified Valley Bank and featured both a quote from Valley’s Senior Vice President, John Myers, and a description of the Bank’s service platform and commitment to the cannabis industry.

The End of Non-Competes? The Impact It Will Have on the Healthcare Industry

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a proposed rule that, if enacted, will ban employers from entering into non-compete clauses with workers (the “Rule”), and the Rule would void existing non-compete agreements. In their Notice, the FTC stated that if the Rule were to go into effect, they estimate the overall earnings of employees in the United States could increase by $250 billion to $296 billion per year. The Rule would also require employers to rescind non-competes that they had already entered into with their workers. For purposes of the Rule, the FTC has defined “worker” to also include any employees, interns, volunteers, and contractors.”

2022 Healthcare Recap and 2023 Healthcare Check-Up

As the country begins to return to a new “normal” following the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many healthcare rules changing on both the federal and state levels as a result. Thus, it is important for healthcare providers and their employers to be aware of these changing rules, and any implications they may have on their practice. Look back on healthcare in 2022 and find a checklist for 2023.

Direct Support Professional Retention Payments

On December 15, the Ohio Senate and House passed House Bill 45, which authorizes the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), in conjunction with the county boards of developmental disabilities, to launch their initiative to issue retention payments to Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). These retention payments will be distributed quarterly to participating home and community-based waiver providers to address the workforce crisis in the direct provider sector. Governor DeWine needs to sign the Bill to begin the payments, but he is expected to do so by the end of 2022.

Real Estate Investors Position for 2023 Opportunities

Real estate investors weathered another year in a post-pandemic world, with the year closing with yet another interest rate increase coupled with both uncertainty and heightened interest carrying into 2023. Just last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate 0.50 percentage points, shifting the target range to 4.25% to 4.50%. The new level is the highest the fed funds rate has been since December 2007 and marks the seventh rate hike this year. So what does this mean to investors, brokers, lenders, and others in the real estate world? Read a few perspectives below from stakeholders familiar with our BMD clients and the markets in which they do business.