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Arbitration – Consumer Protection – Litigation Activity – Motion to Compel – Six-Month Delay – No Waiver (access required)

Rota-McLarty v. Santander Consumer USA Inc. A district court erred in applying Maryland law, instead of the Federal Arbitration Act, to deny a financing company’s motion to compel arbitration of a car buyer’s lawsuit; the 4th Circuit says the financing company did not waive arbitration by delaying about six months before filing its motion to compel and using “litigation machinery” to remove the case to federal court, file an answer and take the car buyer’s deposition.

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Arbitration – Litigation Activity – No Prejudice – Litigation Expenses & Strategy – Employee Benefit Plans (access required)

Wheeling Hospital Inc. v. The Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley Inc. In this dispute between two hospitals and a health system plan over payments under employee benefit plans, the district court erred in saying the Health Plan’s litigation activity meant it “defaulted” on its right to arbitrate the dispute; the 4th Circuit says there’s no per se prejudice from a dispositive motion, and the hospital plaintiffs did not otherwise show prejudice from delay, their litigation expenses and any revelation of their “litigation strategy.”

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Arbitration – Real Property – Sale of Completed Home – FAA Inapplicable – Intrastate Contract – First Impression (access required)

Bradley v. Brentwood Homes, Inc. When a buyer contracts to buy a completed house, the fact that out-of-state contractors were involved in building the house does not convert an intrastate contract into one involving interstate commerce. Therefore, the Federal Arbitration Act is inapplicable. Since the contract did not satisfy the requirements of the S.C. Uniform Arbitration Act, the buyer was not required to submit his claims to arbitration.

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Arbitration – Construction Contract – Enforceability – Certification to W.Va. Supreme Court (access required)

Dan Ryan Builders Inc. v. Nelson In this contract dispute with a builder, a new-home buyer says the contract’s arbitration clause is not enforceable because it allows the builder to sue for certain kinds of disputes, but the buyer is forced to arbitrate all disputes; the 4th Circuit certifies to the West Virginia high court a question about the enforceability of the arbitration clause in this case.

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