COA: Revised Uniform Arbitration Act Does Not Permit Interlocutory Appeals from Orders Compelling Arbitration
In this case the Bullards entered into a Building Agreement with Tall House that contained an arbitration provision. A dispute between the parties over defects in a house was arbitrated and an arbitration award was issued. The trial court vacated part of the arbitration award and issued an order compelling a new arbitration proceeding to resolve outstanding issues. On appeal Tall House argued that the order compelling arbitration should be reversed, and that its interlocutory appeal should be allowed because because a new arbitration proceeding would force it to endure added expense and delay and cause “potential for multiple inconsistent arbitration awards,” affecting its substantial rights.
The COA noted that the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act does not permit an immediate appeal of an order compelling arbitration, which Tall House cited as the primary cause for impairment of its substantial rights. The COA also found that any new arbitration award would not be inconsistent with the prior award because the new arbitration would only address unresolved issues, and that “avoiding the time and expense of trial is not a substantial right justifying immediate appeal.” The COA thus dismissed the appeal.