Wednesday, November 19, 2008, 10:07 AM

COA Says Arbitration Clause Governing "Any Dispute" Includes Claim for Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices

In Linsenmayer v. Omni Homes, an arbitration clause in a construction contract said that arbitration was the proper avenue should "any dispute arise relative to the performance of this contract that the parties cannot resolve[.]" The COA held that “any dispute” included plaintiffs' claim that defendants were liable for unfair and deceptive trade practices, and the arbitrator could thus award treble damages. While the clause made no mention of punitive or exemplary damages, it did not "specifically exclude any particular form of damages" and did "in effect allow for punitive or exemplary relief." The COA also held in Linsenmayer that the arbitrator did not have to specify that the lump sum arbritration award included treble damages. The trial court previously found that defendants were liable for unfair and deceptive trade practices and noted that such damages would be "statutorily appropriate" before it stayed the litigation and compelled arbitration.

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