Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

St. George Fire Protection District No. 2 v. J. Reed Constructors, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

February 20, 2018

ST. GEORGE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT NO. 2
v.
J. REED CONSTRUCTORS, INC.

         On Appeal from the 19th Judicial District Court Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana No. C655561 The Honorable William A. Morvant, Judge Presiding

          John S. McLindon Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/Appellant, J. Reed Constructors, Inc.

          Henry D.H. Olinde, Jr. Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorney for Plaintiff/Appellee, St. George Fire Protection District No. 2

          BEFORE: GUIDRY, PETTIGREW, AND CRAIN, JJ.

          CRAIN, J.

         J. Reed Constructors, Inc., appeals a judgment confirming an arbitration award in favor of St. George Fire Protection District No. 2. We affirm.

         FACTS

         J. Reed and St. George entered two construction contracts that subjected disputes between them to binding arbitration. A dispute arose after J. Reed allegedly failed to substantially complete the contracts on time. Specifically, J. Reed contested St. George's assessment of liquidated damages and claims for additional amounts for breach of warranty. The matter was submitted to arbitration, and the arbitrator awarded St. George $58, 865.00 for damages and fees.

         St. George timely petitioned the trial court to confirm the arbitration award, pointing out that the three-month period for a party to request that the award be vacated, modified, or corrected, had lapsed. J. Reed answered the petition and opposed confirmation. J. Reed disagreed with, but did not contest, the arbitrator's award of $17, 205.00 for defective work and removal of a septic tank. Rather, J. Reed objected to confirming $41, 660.00 for architect and attorney fees. J. Reed claimed St. George neither sought nor pled entitlement to those fees in any pleading, that those issues were beyond the scope of what was submitted to the arbitrator, and that the award of those amounts was illegal. J. Reed acknowledged not filing a motion to modify the arbitration award within three months pursuant to the Louisiana Binding Arbitration Law, but argued "[w]hat cannot be used as a sword can be used as a shield, " and that it was not prohibited from raising its objection as an affirmative defense in answer to the petition. St. George responded, asserting the request for modification of the arbitration award was untimely and should not be considered. Alternatively, St. George argued that J. Reed's claims should be denied.

         The trial court rejected J. Reed's arguments and confirmed the arbitration award. J. Reed now appeals, contending the trial court committed error in confirming the architect and attorney fee awards.

         DISCUSSION

         As a matter of public policy, Louisiana strongly favors arbitration; therefore, arbitration awards are presumed valid. See La. R.S. 9:4201; National Tea Co. v. Richmond, 548 So.2d 930, 932 (La. 1989); Duhon v. Activeleaf, LLC, 16-0818 (La. 10/19/16), ___So. 3d___, ___(2016WL6123820). A court may vacate, modify, or correct an arbitration award, but only for the exclusive grounds specified in Louisiana Revised Statutes 9:4210 and 4211, which notably do not include errors of fact or law.[1] Crescent Property Partners, LLC v. American Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co., 14-0969 (La. 1/28/15), 158 So.3d 798, 804. Courts ordinarily do not sit in an appellate capacity over an arbitration panel and are not entitled to substitute their judgment for that of the arbitrators chosen by the parties. Crescent Property Partners, LLC, 158 So.3d at 804. Instead, the court's determination is limited to whether the party attacking the award has proven one or more of the specific statutory grounds for invalidation. Crescent Property Partners, LLC, 158 So.3d at 804.

         Louisiana Revised Statute 9:4209 pertinently provides:

At any time within one year after the award is made any party to the arbitration may apply to the court in and for the parish within which the award was made for an order confirming the award and thereupon the court shall grant such an order unless the award is ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.